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Being a Biographical and Critical Dictionary of British 

Makers of the Violin from the Foundation of 

the Classical School to the End of 

the Nineteenth Century 











Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON 6* Co. 
At the Ballantyne Press 



THE following pages are the fruit of many years 
patient labour. The author has spent nearly all the 
spare moments of his life in the active service of the 
King of Instruments, and the effort embodied herein 
is homage paid by a loyal subject to a worthy monarch. 
No doubt the work will be found to contain many 
imperfections all things human do but it at least 
claims the merit of independent research. The in- 
formation given is invariably based upon personal 
observation, except in a few cases where it was 
impossible to get at particulars first-hand. The 
modern school of violin-making, it will be observed, 
is for the first time treated with the amplitude and 
the respect which its importance demands. During 
the last seven years the writer has examined over a 
thousand new instruments, the majority of which were 
well made, and not a few of them as fine examples 
of the luthier's art as the world has ever produced. 
An important feature of the work is the reproduction 
of a large number of labels in exact facsimile, and 
it is matter of sincere regret to the author that he 
has not been able to extend the feature throughout. 
Perhaps the courtesy of violin-makers will enable him 
to do so in a second edition should such edition be 
fortunately called for. It is possible that the names 
of some present-day makers may be found wanting 


in the biographical dictionary ; if so, it happens 
because the makers in question did not reply to the 
circular sent out asking for information. 

The portion of the work dealing with the classical 
school contains, it is believed, a great deal that is 
interesting and not a little that is new. Particular 
attention has been paid to accuracy in the matter of 
dates a point in which writers on the subject have 
not always been as scrupulous as they should be. 

Sincere thanks are due to all who have contributed 
biographical particulars, or who have otherwise helped 
to make the work a success. 




January I, 1904. 






B. THE MATERIAL ...... 10 







SHIP, &c 23 






D. QUALITY OF WOOD . ..... 46 

E. PLATE TENSION . . . . , . 46 





INDEX 243 



REV. W. MEREDITH MORRIS .... Frontispiece 
WILLIAM ATKINSON .... To face page 65 


(BELLY) . . .* , . . . ,,72 

(SiDE; BACK) 72 

J. W. BRIGGS, GLASGOW. . . . 84 



J. J. GILBERT 124 


JAS. HARDIE ,,137 


J. HARDIE . . . . . 138 



GEO. HART 146 

ALFRED WALTER HEAPS . . . . ,,150 




WALTER H. MAYSON . . . . ,,172 




JOHN WILLIAM OWEN .... To face page 189 

VIOLIN BY JOHN W. OWEN . . . ,,190 




ALEX. SMILLIE ..... 208 


JAMES WHITELAW . . . . . ,,227 







THE classical period of British violin-making is almost 
conterminous with the eighteenth century, and embraces 
the work of Parker, Duke, Banks, Forster, and other 
men of less note. It is advantageous to review its 
remains from the point of view of model, material, 
varnish, workmanship, and tone. 


In contemplating the model adopted by our old 
makers, two features alone seem to stand out sufficiently 
prominent to arrest the attention of the connoisseur, viz. 
the absence of originality and the inferiority of the type 
adopted. The manifest poverty of idea is very extra- 
ordinary when we consider that the English excelled as 
makers of the lute and viol. There can be no doubt 
that viols of British manufacture were facile princeps 
among instruments of that type. We gather as 
much from a work by Jean Rousseau entitled Traiti 
de la Viole, which was published in Paris in 1687 ; 
from numerous statements on the subject in Mace's 
" Musick's Monument," and from other works dealing 
with the history of music. So extraordinary are the 


above features considered to be that most writers on 
the subject have thought it necessary to endeavour to 
account for them. Hart, in his standard work, " The 
Violin : Its Famous Makers and their Imitators," offers 
the following explanation : " It may be that Continental 
connoisseurs have credited themselves with the works 
of our best makers, and expatriated them, while they 
have inexorably allowed bad English fiddles to retain 
their nationality." This is possible, but hardly prob- 
able. Connoisseurs are blessed with an open mind and 
an easy conscience, we know, but we doubt whether, 
apart from their tonal qualities, there be sufficient merit 
in our classical instruments to tempt dealers to practise 
the black art. Instruments that are intended to take 
their role in a masquerade are such as are meant to be 
purchased by the eye and not by the ear. If lack of 
originality had been the only defect of the work of our 
classical school, the explanation would be plausible, 
but there is beyond that the choice of an inferior 
model. The British copied, and in many instances 
exaggerated, the high arch of Stainer. Doubtless there 
are reasons, and cogent reasons. We are not for a 
moment to conclude that British artists have at all 
times been unequal to the higher flights of art. They 
have their seasons of artistic drought and barrenness 
like most artists of other nations (and this has some- 
what to do, perhaps, with the present subject), but they 
have also their seasons of early and later rain and 
plenteous aftermath. I hazard the following explana- 
tion. There was 

(i) An absence of stimulus. During the greater part 
of the classical period the world passed through the 
chill cloud of universal inactivity. If British makers 


were possessed of the necessary talent, the means 
were wanting which ought to have called it forth. 
Healthy environment is as much a condition of life as 
is healthy organism. The glories of the Elizabethan 
age were past and gone. Reaction that principle 
which runs like an undercurrent through the waters 
of universal history was already in motion. The 
force was even now at work which culminated in Lati- 
tudinarianism in the Church, in Deism in matters of 
belief, in pamphleteering in literature, in artificiality in 
poetry, in Epicureanism in morals, and in mechanical 
servility in art. Ennui was in the air, and the nation 
from Parnassus down to Bedlam caught it. There 
were sporadic efforts, and the efforts show some amount 
of concentration of energy ; but the mere conflux of 
sudden gushes are not identical with the gentle and 
ceaseless flow of the stream of genius. Moreover, the 
remains of our classical period betray effort. Now, 
one of the leading characteristics of the fruit of genius 
is its freedom from effort. Carlyle was never more 
in error than when he described genius as an infinite 
capacity for taking pains. Genius cannot be expressed 
in terms of resistance, nor its product as the multipli- 
cation of labour. It is not hinted that we had no 
geniuses amongst our old makers. All that is asserted 
is that the conditions of manifestation were absent. 
Genius is a plant which, in the absence of sunlight, 
grows etiolated and sickly. Many and many a beauti- 
ful flower has "bloomed to blush unseen." It gave 
its blushes to the sun and its scent to the breeze be- 
cause no one took the trouble to pluck it. The fruits 
of talent are often lost because no one gathers them ; 
nay, the talent itself is destroyed because it has to be 


buried in the ground. The reader will remember, and 
may apply in this connection, the lines of Gray : 

" Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid 

Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire ; 
Hands that the rod of empire might have swayed 
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre." 

(2) Musical Conservatism was a potent Factor. The 
viol enjoyed a monopoly, and the upstart violin in its 
battle for the possession of the British music world 
had to contest every inch of the ground. This is 
painfully if amusingly evident from the vituperations 
of old Thomas Mace. His remarks have been quoted 
by so many writers on the violin that it is unnecessary 
to give them here. The viol held its sway more or 
less firmly down till about 1650, and for the next 
fifty years, like a worthy veteran of many battles, it 
bravely held on. In spite of Court and other influ- 
ences, the " French fashion " was looked upon by the 
public as a giddy and pertinacious intruder. Even 
when supplemented by the " Italian fashion " it found 
its path strewn with many thorns. Very timely was 
the arrival of Thomas Balzar in 1656, and of Nicola 
Matteis in 1672. Their wielding of the magic wand 
it was that proved the principal means in undoing the 
conservative spell. By the time the strife had fully 
ended the eighteenth century had dawned. The art 
of violin making in Italy was then at its zenith, and 
Cremona stood unrivalled in the production of the 
king of instruments. Age and use had done much 
for the Brescian, early Cremonese, and Tyrolese instru- 
ments, and those which found their way into this 
country were incomparably superior to the raw material 


produced by the native makers. Even as the demand 
on the Continent a hundred years previously had been 
for the splendidly-made and well-matured English 
viol, so now in England (that had at length awaked 
to the superiority of the violin) the demand was for 
the unrivalled instruments of Italian and especially of 
Tyrolese manufacture. 

Owing to a constitutional abhorrence of innovation 
we started a hundred years late, and we of necessity 
lost the race. 

(3) Puritan Fanaticism. The furious bigotry of 
Anabaptists, Levellers, and -Fifth-monarchy-men had 
placed music under a ban, ; and the gentle voice of 
melody had been drowned in the hoarse battle-cry of 
the " saints." In the fanatical days of " Praise-God- 
Barebones " many and many a precious old viol shared 
the fate of the stained glass and carved work of our 
cathedrals. Puritan England was the Patmos of art. 
Nearly a century elapsed before the muses ventured 
forth to fan art into a flame out of the embers of its 
dead self. 

So much for the absence of originality. As to the 
other characteristic the inferiority of the type I fear 
that no explanation or apology can be offered. It 
shows lack of discrimination. The old makers adopted 
the model of Stainer, and followed it with but few 
departures for the greater part of a hundred years. 
In following those who had gone before, they un- 
wittingly showed a predilection for the least worthy. 
Something may be said for the copyist who, conscious 
of his deficiency in the power of originality, assidu- 
ously sets about to copy that which is best and noblest 
in art, but apology becomes difficult in the case of the 


man who imitates the inferior and less worthy. The 
British in their choice of type showed inability to 
differentiate between tone nuances, and also lack of 
artistic feeling in the matter of form and propor- 
tion. That they sinned without excuse is perfectly 
certain. They were acquainted with Brescian and 
early Cremonese instruments as well as with those 
of Jacob Stainer. They were in the position to make 
a choice, and their choice fell upon the inferior model. 
I am aware that the truth of the last statement has been 
denied by certain authorities, and it will be well perhaps 
to bring forward the evidence upon which it rests : 

(1) There were numerous Italian instruments 
brought into this country by collectors. William 
Corbett, who resided for some years in Italy, brought 
back a rare collection a " Gallery of Cremonys and 
Stainers." These were bequeathed to Gresham College, 
and handed over to the authorities on the death of the 
collector in 1748, with the proviso that they were to 
remain open for inspection. Soon after the death of 
the donor the college authorities disposed of the 
"gallery" by auction (it is supposed), and the in- 
struments became the property of dealers and other 
collectors. The Duke of Hamilton, the Duke of 
Cambridge, the Earl of Falmouth, and others, also 
formed collections of Italian instruments. 

(2) That Italian models were known in this 
country is proved by the fact that they were occa- 
sionally copied. 

(a) Richard Meares (1680) adopted the Brescian 
model, and made excellent violins in the 
lines of Maggini. This old maker probably 
made the first English violoncello. 


(/3) Barak Norman (1683-1744) ornamented his 
instruments in the Maggini style, and used 
labels which are reminiscent of those used by 
Del Gesu. 

(7) An undoubtedly genuine violin by Christopher 

Wise (1656) is made on the Maggini lines. 

(8) Peter Wamsley (1715-51) is admitted by 

most writers to have made several copies of 
Stradivari, and to have followed the master 
closely except in the matter of graduating 
the thicknesses. He spoilt his work in at- 
tempting to produce the Italian tone by 
over-thinning the plates. 

(e) Cuthbert (1700). An admittedly genuine 

example of this maker is in the Maggini 

(f) Matthew Hardie made many violins in the 

Stradivari model towards the end of the 
eighteenth century, and that at a time when 
the Amati model was the vogue. 
(3) There is further the fact that several eminent 
Italian virtuosi visited this country from time to time. 
The playing of these must have drawn attention to 
the Italian instruments upon which they played, and 
ought to have enlightened the understanding of our 
makers as well as of the music world. 

(a) Francesco Geminiani came to England between 
1709-14, and met with a great success. 
Here he remained and published his works, 
making a few artistic tours to the Continent 
and again returning. 

(/3) Veracini came to London in 1714 and led the 
Italian Opera Band there. 


(7) Gaetano Pugnani (1727-1803) visited London 
more than once, and stayed there on one of 
these visits for nearly two years. 

(S) Giardini came to London in 1744 and remained 
there for two years. 

(4) Somewhere about 1686, the banker, Michele 
Monzi, of Venice, sent a set of Stradivari violins, 
altos, and violoncellos, as a present to King James of 
England. In this connection it may be worth while 
to mention Forster's assertion that a consignment of 
new Stradivari instruments sent here on approval could 
not be disposed of. 

Thus there is not the shadow of doubt that Italian 
models were known in this country early in the 
eighteenth century, and there is not the shadow of 
doubt that they were deliberately set aside 'in favour 
of an inferior type. 


The wood used by our classical makers is for the 
most part maple and pine of the orthodox kind, but 
various other woods were occasionally used, either by 
way of experiment, or on account of a scarcity of 
the right sort. Benjamin Banks used plain English 
sycamore for the back of some of his violins, and red 
pine for the front table of a few of his violas. He 
once (by special request it is true) used cedarwood 
for both back and belly of a violoncello. " Old " 
Forster used common deal for the table of many of 
his second-class instruments. Richard Duke and 
Daniel Parker were usually very particular about their 
wood, and the latter ranks with the most careful of 


our old makers in this respect. Would that we had 
more examples of his art left us ! Duke's backs are 
mostly plain, but the wood is as good acoustically as 
anything short of Italian gems of the first water. 
Henry Whiteside, a maker hardly known to any 
writer on violin matters, used beech for the back of 
many of his fiddles. One of these, in good condition, 
is in the possession of the author. Matthew Hardie 
used anything that came to hand for his inferior 
instruments, though he used excellent wood for his 
Stradivari copies. Those who have read "Scottish 
Violin Makers : Past and Present," by W. C. Honey- 
man, will remember the tale of the " hidden violin." 
Benjamin Williams, a Welsh maker, tried ash and 
birch for the back. Edward Withers, whose instru- 
ments are rising in value, was very careful in the 
selection of his material. The wood in the instruments 
bearing the label of John Betts is usually good, but 
mostly plain. These are isolated examples, and the 
departures from the traditional rule are neither very 
numerous nor very important. One thing to be noted 
in particular about the pine used is that it shows a 
general preference on the part of the makers for wood 
with a medium "reed" or grain. Very few instances 
there are of either close or wide grained wood. Some 
of the best examples of " old " Forster are an exception 
to the rule, but these have common English deal, and 
not Swiss pine. 


The varnish is excellent as regards elasticity and 
adhesiveness. The oil varnish of our classical school 
will probably wear better than that of any other school. 


I have seen many a badly cracked and battered old 
Duke and Forster with the varnish still plentiful and 
" defiant." Of but few Italian instruments can this 
be said. The majority of the best of them are quite 
bare. Nothing short of a smart blow will damage the 
English varnish. I have seen a Dodd's 'cello varnished 
with the celebrated " original Cremona varnish," which 
had a hole knocked in one of the bouts, and the var- 
nish around the scraggy edges had parted " clean." 
There was not a suspicion of " chip " or transversal 
cracks. In this respect the classical varnish contrasts 
favourably with some of the best varnishes of the 
modern school. One drawback, e.g.^ of the famous 
varnish of Mr. James Whitelaw is that it is brittle, 
and that it "chips" in a most provoking manner. In 
other respects, the modern varnish is far superior to 
that of the classical school. The varnish of even the 
best of the old makers lacks colour and brilliancy. 
On the finest of Duke's instruments, for instance, it is 
elastic, tough, and withal soft, but dull and lifeless. 
Some of the deeper-hued varnishes of Forster may be 
said to possess colour, but it is colour devoid of fire 
and translucency. The best work of Banks, much of 
which has received high praise, is frequently open to 
the same criticism. 

But colour and transparency, I admit, are not so 
important as elasticity and adhesiveness. In its bearing 
upon tone, elasticity is the most important of all the 
known factors. I say " known," because it is highly 
probable that the varnish has a subtle influence upon 
the colour of the tone, the nature of which is not yet 
precisely understood. I am inclined to think with the 
Messrs. Hill (vide their Life of Stradivari) that the 


varnish plays a much more important part in the evolu- 
tion of tone nuance than is usually admitted. 

It is remarkable that so few authentic recipes of 
old varnishes have been handed down to us. This 
is a fact which militates against the view that the 
nature of the ingredients and the method of making 
them into a varnish were regarded as a trade secret. 
Secrets were generally confided to black and white, 
paradoxical as it might sound. The secret of many a 
long-lost art consists in the fact that at the time it 
was practised it was no secret at all. If the art of 
embalming had been regarded in ancient Egypt as a 
mystery, we should probably know more about it to- 
day. At one time everybody knew in the land of the 
Pharaohs how the mighty Cheops was built, and how 
the stones were quarried and conveyed, and the fact 
that everybody knew then is the main reason why 
nobody knows now. The masters of painting had no 
dark chambers wherein they mixed their pigments : it 
would be better for modern artists if they had. 

On the other hand, make a mystery of an art, and 
you thereby secure for it a niche in one of the safest 
recesses of Walhalla. The art of the necromancer in 
the days of Aaron was a secret, but the pundits of India 
practise it to-day. Archimedes enshrouded with a veil 
of mystery the principle which he discovered, and which 
is named after him, and, thanks to the fact, the world 
has not had to rediscover the law of specific gravity. 

Innumerable instances might be quoted in support 
of my statement, but sufficient have been given to 
illustrate the point. 

The inference is this : the varnish of Stradivari, 
Guarneri, and other Cremonese, was no trade secret, 


otherwise we should be familiar with its composition 
to-day. Dodd guarded his mixture with a jealous 
eye, but his varnish has been reproduced many and 
many a time since he laid his brush to rest. 

Our classical makers used both oil and spirit var- 
nishes. The gums, resins, &c., which entered into 
their composition are perfectly familiar to us. One 
thing alone is doubtful, viz., whether or not in these 
sinful days we get the pure and unadulterated article. 
A list of these substances is given in an appendix to 
the valuable work of Mr. Edward Heron-Allen, 
" Violin Making, as it Was and Is," and the reader 
who wishes for full information on the subject is 
referred to that work. 

I do not think our great makers varnished as the 
moderns do, and as the Italian masters undoubtedly 
did. The varnish appears to be perfectly homo- 
geneous, that is to say, there is no sizing of colourless 
varnish of one kind with subsequent coats of colour 
varnish. There is no foil of golden sheen, which 
would etherealise the fire of the varnish. All that 
was probably done in the majority of instances was the 
mere rubbing of a little oil into the wood, followed by 
the application of varnish in the usual way. A few 
instruments, it must be admitted, show evidence of 
some such sizing as that of gamboge, notably amongst 
the examples of Daniel Parker and Forster the 
Forster but this is the exception, not the rule. 


The distinguishing feature of the workmanship is 
solidity. A few of Duke's finest efforts may be con- 


sidered graceful and refined ; some of Parker's free 
and flowing in style, &c. Still "solidity" is the 
characteristic. A typical maker would be Daniel 
Parker. Here we have plenty of timber, an absence 
of regard for the finer details, and a sense of uncon- 
cerned self-reliance and determination. If there is no 
general refinement, there is also no vulgarity. The 
makers followed in the wake of their Continental 
progenitors, and we feel that, although they did not 
cut out a path of their own, they were all the more 
sure of the road. We may miss the impress of genius, 
but we have the compensating balance of common 
sense. Another notable feature of the workmanship 
is uniformity. The great names did not stand far 
apart. In the commercial workaday parlance of 
dealers, the best instrument will not give the worst 
a margin of more than ^30. I am speaking here of 
the productions of the best makers. It is not so with 
the work of any of the Continental schools. Some of 
Stradivari's gems are offered to-day (1903) for 2500, 
and one instrument, the Salabue Strad, sold a few years 
since for ^2000 ; whereas a fine example of Storioni 
was sold a couple of months back for ^40. The 
noble army of British artists walks abreast. There 
may be a first maker, but the second is like unto him ; 
in fact, they are all very much alike. 

Many of our second-class and inferior instruments 
were evidently built without a mould. So were a 
large number of the Italian ones; but there is this 
difference in the result : the latter are invariably crude 
and irregular ; the former are, at the worst, only quaint 
and rugged. Our average British luthier may not be 
highly artistic, but he never is truly barbarous. 


The interior of all classical work is slightly rough, 
the marks of the chisel and gouge being mostly dis- 
cernible. Especially is this the case with the end 
blocks, which are rounded off in a more or less 
haphazard fashion with the chisel. In the larger 
instruments the blocks are often shaped by about a 
dozen applications of the chisel. I do not think our 
old makers troubled themselves much about glass- 
paper and its uses, either in the finishing of the 
exterior or the interior. They handled their scraper 
very nattily, and were content with the result. This 
is not at all to be deprecated, as sandpaper is an 
enemy of " character." Nor were they at all times 
over particular about matching their wood. I have 
seen fine examples of Duke and Forster with an odd 
rib, cut the wrong way of the grain to match the 
other ribs. Mr. Richard Hilton, of Matlock Bridge, 
possesses a genuine Daniel Parker, date 1712, with 
the right upper rib cut differently from the rest. 
There is, or was, in the possession of H. Seymour 
Allen, Esq., of Cresselly House, Pembroke, a beauti- 
ful Duke fiddle with a joint back, the wood of the 
left half being of a broad curl, and that of the other 
of a narrow, regular curl. A Mr. O'Connor, residing 
in Waterford, has a Benjamin Banks tenor in excellent 
preservation, the ribs of which have been cut from 
three different pieces of timber varying in width of 
curl. Many specimens of Matthew Hardie show three 
different kinds of figure in scroll, ribs, and back. 
These are isolated cases, but instances might be multi- 
plied indefinitely. The English scrolls show much 
strength and decision. Curiously enough those of 
Benjamin Banks, our recognised chief, are somewhat 


weak in design and execution. Richard Tobin cut 
scrolls which vie with the best work of Stradivari, 
but the poor man has been robbed of his due by an 
unscrupulous posterity. Dealers, perceiving the aristo- 
cratic bearing of the heads, have ruthlessly decapitated 
them in most instances and put them on democratic 
shoulders. I am glad, however, to be able to give 
an illustration of an undoubtedly genuine Tobin scroll 
(vide " Tobin," Part II.). 

The sound-holes do not call for any general re- 
marks, as they are dealt with individually under the 
names of the respective makers. There is one point 
more in the general character of the workmanship 
which calls for criticism, and that is, the absence of 
purfling in a large number of the mediocre instru- 
ments, and in not a few of the better class. Ink- 
lines, however carefully drawn, are but an eyesore 
and a sham, and, what is still worse, they afford no 
protection to the exposed edges. 


A most remarkable fact connected with British 
instruments of the classical period, and one which 
has escaped the notice of all writers on the subject, 
is, that their tone is the very antipode of that 
of Stainer's instruments, which our luthiers copied 
so slavishly for three-quarters of a century. Our 
artists followed Stainer's lines, but they gave us a 
tone approximating to that of Amati. The tone is 
not so thickly crusted with sugar as that of Nicolo, 
it is true, but the coating is sugar, nevertheless, and 
not absinth. The best description of the Stainer 



tone that I am acquainted with is that given by the 
Rev. H. R. Haweis in his "Old Violins" (pp. 
98, 99); well, that description cannot be applied to 
the tone of any English instrument of the eighteenth 
century. This phenomenon has its post - classical 
counterpart. Makers from 1800 to 1860 have copied 
Stradivari in the main, and they have given us the 
Stainer tone ! There were hundreds of Stainer copies 
produced in the eighteenth century, some of them 
very exact in the matters of outline, arching, thick- 
nessing, &c., but I have never come across a single 
instrument of that period the tone of which could be 
said to bear the slightest resemblance to the tone of 
the great German. Our classical tone is rather small, 
but bright and silvery. Why is it they failed to reach 
their ideal? And why is it that the majority of 
modern copyists also fail ? I do not care to volunteer 
even a surmise : the violin world is already too full 
of surmises. Suffice it to point out the fact. This 
much is pretty certain, however namely, that those 
who are in quest of the "Excalibur" of Antonio 
had better go further afield than the air mass, gradua- 
tion of thicknesses, theories, and such like, the pursuit 
of which is as fruitless as the search for the holy 
Gandiva in " the far Lauchityan sea." Time and 
use do a great deal for tone, no doubt, but they do 
not alter its inherent qualities. No length of time 
nor any amount of use will transform the fairy-bell 
tone of Duke, Banks, Forster, &c., into the roaring, 
razor tone of Stainer. 

I fully agree with those who assert that the 
qualities of our classical tone have been much under- 
estimated. Duke in his best work rivals N. Amati. 


Daniel Parker has a charming tone " bashfully sweet " 
would be an apt description. The violoncellos of 
Benjamin Banks are magnificent the vox humana 
complexion of their tone is quite remarkable. 

The classical tone may not fill our large music 
halls, but it will penetrate to every part of them, 
and ought to win, where it fails to conquer, by its 
fascinating sweetness. It would be well if present-day 
makers realised that loudness is not the chief element 
of musical sound. Purity and sweetness are before all 
other qualities. These are the days of " loud " things, 
and even music in order to appeal to vulgar taste has 
to conform to the type h la mode. The advice is given 
by a writer of eminence that violin-makers who would 
be the Stradivaris of the future must look forward 
and contrive means that will ensure an immense tone. 
What the writer probably means is this : that makers 
should try to put the soul of an organ into the body 
of a fiddle. But I prefer the fiddle with its own soul 
in its own body. 

N. Amati has never been surpassed for thrilling, 
silvery sweetness, and I, for one, much prefer his quiet 
company in a chamber to that of any loud aspirant to 
future greatness in a large hall. 

In conclusion, I submit that in the supremely im- 
portant matter of tone production, the British classical 
school takes rank next to that of the Italian. There 
are one or two French makers who are superior to our 
best artists, perhaps, but only one or two. The rank 
and file of French luthiers are not fit to hold a rush- 
light to our old makers. Stainer is, of course, in spite 
of his pepper and vinegar, head and shoulders above 
us; but one man does not constitute a school. He 


may create a school, but he is a solus unus, and not the 

Let possessors of genuine Dukes, Parkers, Banks, 
Forsters, &c., take care of their treasures. The time 
will come when they, or their children, will know how 
to value them at their true worth. First-class Italian 
instruments are becoming rarer every year. The in- 
struments of Lupot, Pique, and one or two other 
Frenchmen, are also becoming rarer. Third-class 
Italian and other French work is not superior to our 
classical remains nay, it is not even equal to it in the 
paramount quality TONE. 


IGNORANCE and prejudice unite in disputing the exist- 
ence of a modern British school of violin-making, and 
some writers calmly assert that the art of violin-making 
is dead in Great Britain since the year 1850! I can 
understand some irresponsible people making rash 
statements of this sort for trade or similar reasons, but 
I cannot comprehend the man who sits down to 
deliberately write, and then unblushingly publish them 
to mislead the thousands. The glorious art was never 
more alive in this country than it is to-day. There 
are at least thirty professional luthiers of the present 
day, and about five times that number of amateurs 
and occasional makers. This number is exclusive of 
dealers in factory fiddles, Anglo-French makers, &c., 
all of which classes have no claim to consideration in a 
work dealing purely with British violin-making. Since 
the year 1850 the British school has been born again 
born to a higher and a nobler life, I believe. We have 
now working with us Mayson, Withers, Gilbert, Atkin- 
son, Hesketh, Owen, Hardie, &c., much of whose 
work will be considered classics a hundred and fifty 
years hence. Some of these have struck out a path 
for themselves, and the British school shows unmistak- 
able signs of originality for the first time. Material, 
varnish, workmanship, and tone place them in line 


with the Italians. Their originality, breadth of concep- 
tion, and artistic feeling show that the best of them 
are worthy contestants for the laurel with Stradivari, 
Guarneri, Bergonzi, Amati, and Maggini. Of course, 
people who have an interest in the trade in old 
instruments cannot be expected to admit all this. 
Dealers are sometimes worshippers at the shrine of 
Minerva, but they are oftener grovellers before the 
image of Plutus. 

Thirty years ago, violin-making in this country was 
confined to a handful of men, such as Tarr, Cole, 
Hardie, Mayson, Withers, and a few more. The 
famous names of Hill and Hart can hardly be in- 
cluded, for one was a repairer more than anything, 
and the other chiefly an expert and author. For 
twenty-five years the growth in the number of luthiers 
and the quality of work has been steady, and if we 
persevere we bid well to eclipse the noonday glory of 
Cremona. To-day the output, both as regards quantity 
and quality, is very considerable. About a hundred 
and fifty high-class instruments were made last year 
(1902) in Great Britain, and nearly five hundred more 
of the second and third class, both small and great. 
The renewed interest in the art is due in part to the 
marvellous activity in the world of art (in general) 
and letters during the last three decades of the Vic- 
torian era. Such books as " Violin Making, as it Was 
and Is " (Heron-Allen), " The Violin : its Famous 
Makers and their Imitators " (Hart), " Old Violins 
and their Makers" (Fleming), and others, have also 
helped to foster the love of the king of instruments. 
Greater than all is the impetus communicated to 
the minds of those with an artistic bias by the influx 


into this country of classical gems and by the play- 
ing of virtuosi, who have thrilled our music-loving 

It is worthy of special note that the art is making 
progress by leaps and bounds in Scotland. There are 
about sixty Scottish makers of the present day, pro- 
fessional and amateur, and on the average two hundred 
instruments or more have been turned out annually in 
the land of " banks and braes " for the last ten years. 
Scottish players are less addicted to the factory fiddle, 
to their credit be it said, than are we of England and 
Wales. This is due in a large measure to the com- 
parative cheapness in Scotland of the home-made 
instrument. The leading English makers charge an 
exorbitant price for their work. As much as ^65 
is asked by some for their high-class fiddles. This 
is unreasonable. It is a rare occurrence, indeed, to 
find a new violin which is intrinsically worth the 
money. Hardie, Smith, Smillie, Omond, and other 
good Scottish makers charge from ^3 to ^10 for 
instruments that are well made and acoustically ex- 


The salient features of modern work demand close 
attention. The models most affected are those of 
Stradivari and Guarneri English makers giving the 
preference to the former and Scottish makers to the 
latter. Maggini, Gasparo da Salo, Amati, Bergonzi, 
and others are also copied, but not so often. Mayson, 
of Manchester ; Atkinson, of Tottenham ; Gilbert, of 


Peterborough ; and Owen, of Leeds, work on original 
lines, and their work is superb. The woods used by 
the leading makers are imported from the Cantons of 
Schwytz and Lucerne. Our amateurs are not always 
so careful about the quality of their wood as they 
might be. The idea has got abroad that old wood 
is the best, and very often the wood used by them has 
been almost pulverised by age. The instrument made 
of such timber cannot live long. I would here raise a 
note of warning. It is possible to ride a hobby-horse 
to death; that is, being interpreted, it is possible to 
make too much of the old wood theory. The right 
sort of timber, cut at the right time of the year, and 
naturally seasoned in blocks for about twenty years, is 
what is required. Some makers ransack the land, hole 
and corner, for wood which is two or three hundred 
years old. The result does not reward the labour. 
The tone obtained is not an iota better than that got 
by using good wood seasoned for a reasonable number 
of years ; and in fifty or a hundred years hence, when 
fiddles made from fresh and properly seasoned wood 
will be beginning to live, those made from very old, 
lifeless wood will be ready to die. It is feared by 
some that instruments made from wood of only 
twenty years' seasoning will shrink. But what about 
the instruments of the old masters ? These, if they 
have shrunk at all, have not done so to any appreciable 
extent, and they were made from wood seasoned by 
them in their own lifetime. 

My readers will remember that most Continental 
authorities agree with me on this point. August 
Riechers in "The Violin and its Construction" 
(p. 1 1 ) says : " The age of the wood I consider of 


only very small importance ; if it has been lying by for 
five years, ready cut or split, as the case may be, for 
the construction of a violin, it will then be sufficiently 
dry, and will need no further preparation. I have 
exactly ascertained the weight of wood which had 
been laid by for drying for five years, and then, 
having weighed it again at the end of twenty years, 
have found it had not become perceptibly lighter." 
I have not come across one German, French, or Italian 
writer on the subject who advocates the use of very 
old wood. In this country, the great advocate of old 
wood is Mr. W. C. Honeyman, the author of several 
popular works on the violin. The majority of Scottish 
makers are converts to his teaching, and use nothing 
but timber which is at least a hundred years old. I 
had a fiddle down from Scotland for inspection a short 
time since which was made from wood at least three 
hundred years old, so the maker averred. I can well 
believe it was made from timber that was six- hundred 
years old, for it seemed as brittle as a mummy and 
ready to crumble at the slightest touch. One trembled 
to draw the bow across the strings lest it should vibrate 
into dust. In reference to shrinkage in bulk and 
weight, I wish to record here an interesting observa- 
tion which has been made by me. Eleven years ago, I 
had a sycamore tree and a Scotch pine cut down (Ficus 
sycomorus and Pinus sylvestris\ and had a small block 
sawn out of each of the following dimensions : 
12" x 6" x I". The blocks were carefully planed and 
afterwards put to season in a cool, dry place. At 
the end of every year I have taken measurements 
and weights, and the following table gives the exact 
result : 



Dimensions of 

Dimensions of 

Weight of 

Weight of 



Oz. Drm. 

Oz. Drm. 


12 x6 xf 

12 x6 xf 

18 8 

15 14 


u^ix s^fxff 

n^x5 x f^ 

IS 6 

II 8 

1 893 

n^fxsi xff 

HB X 5l X I 

13 8 

9 2 


n| X5 x 

55 5& X A 

12 I 

8 8 


55 S& I X ^ 


ii 3 

8 4 


,, 5ft *H 

55 5 


8 o 


55 5t32 X 6~J 

55 > 

10 6 

55 55 


55 5$T x j 

55 > 

10 4 



55 55 55 

55 5 

10 3 

5> 5J 


55 55 55 

55 > 

55 55 


55 ?5 55 


55 55 



55 55 55 

55 5 

55 5> 


If some one were to make careful and correct 
observations upon different pieces of maple and pine 
(Swiss and Italian) and to tabulate the result, it would 
be edifying as well as interesting. Riechers did so, 
but he does not gives us figures. An ounce of fact is 
worth a ton of theory. Different results would be 
obtained with wood varying in density, sap, &c., and 
climatic conditions would have much to do with the 

And just a word with regard to seasoning. It 
is much more difficult nowadays to get a block of 
naturally seasoned wood than is usually supposed. If 
our modern makers were to exercise the same care in 
procuring timber naturally seasoned that they now 
do in obtaining old wood, they would render great 
service to the cause they espouse. When they seek 
old wood in dilapidated buildings, chalets, &c., they 
forget that the method universally adopted in season- 
ing timber hundreds of years ago was that of sub- 
mersion under water for an extended period, followed 


by desiccation in dry air. The newly-sawn planks 
were sunk in deep water for two years or so, and 
afterwards dried in open sheds. My father (a Pem- 
brokeshire yeoman), who was an authority on timber, 
always seasoned his oak, ash, beech, elm, and syca- 
more in this way, and he assured me from a wide 
knowledge of the subject that the above method had 
been in vogue in this country since the days of the 
Romans. The timber used in the construction of our 
cathedrals and ancient churches was all seasoned in 
this manner, so he maintained. 

He explained that the submersion caused the per- 
manent tissue of the wood to " pack," on account of 
the distension which took place in the cells of the 
meristem, and that the active cells themselves were 
made more susceptible to desiccation. Thus there 
was secured a minimum of meristem and a maximum 
of density in the permanent tissue. He said that the 
permanent tissues were the bones of the timber, and 
the meristem the flesh. The bones would last, but 
the flesh began to decay the moment the tree was 
cut, and the important point in seasoning was to 
overrule the process of decay so that it should do 
the least possible harm to the bone. 

\Query. Have we historical evidence of the exact 
method adopted by the Cremonese in seasoning 
their wood ?] 

The workmanship of our leading professional 
makers is excellent. Attention is paid to every de- 
tail of the work. This is a feature worthy of com- 
mendation, as the British have in the past been 
somewhat impatient of detail. Even such seemingly 
unimportant trifles as the notches of the sound-holes 


are now treated artistically. And what a difference 
attention to minutiae makes in the tout ensemble ! 
Each instrument becomes as much a poem as it does 
a mechanical unity. 

English makers somewhat lower down in the rank 
have yet a little to learn in the matter of purfling, the 
proportion of widths, the treatment of the button, &c., 
and many Scottish makers are open to the charge of 
exaggerating the peculiarities of Del Gesu, more especi- 
ally in the outline and sound-holes. A large number 
of amateurs pay no attention to the proper length of 
the stop, and the majority ought to be more careful 
in working the neck. A thick, clumsy neck at the 
shoulder is a severe trial to the patience of the player, 
for it impedes shifting. Many otherwise fine instru- 
ments of the Italian school were a great deal too bulky 
about the shoulders, but they have been refitted with 
a new neck in accordance with modern requirements. 
In the calculation and working out of form and pro- 
portion, art and utility must go hand in hand and 
contrive to give us that which is both elegant and 

Modern varnishes claim a paragraph or two, both 
on account of their quality and diversity, as well as 
on account of the time which has been given to their 
perfection during the last fifty years. Curious con- 
noisseurs and anxious luthiers have devoted years of 
their life to the fascinations of the chemistry of gums, 
resins, &c. Experiments innumerable have been con- 
ducted, and hundreds, nay thousands of pounds sacri- 
ficed in the effort to restore the lost art of the 
Cremonese varnish. The belief obtains among con- 
temporary chemists who are interested in the subject 


that the base of the Italian varnish was fossil amber. 
Mr. J. Whitelaw, of Glasgow ; Dr. Inglis Clark, 
and Dr. George Dickson, of Edinburgh ; the Messrs. 
Caffyn, of London, and many others, are its chief 
exponents. Some amateurs and professional makers 
also hold the same opinion, and use amber oil varnish 
of their own make; but it is doubtful whether the 
base in the majority of these instances is real fossil 
gum amber. I have tested a few of them, and could 
find no trace of the actual gum, but simply a little 
oleum succinis, commonly called "oil of amber," and 
the gums entering into their composition were much 
softer and less durable in quality than fossil gum 
amber. It needs a knowledge of chemistry to fuse 
amber successfully, and especially to develop the fine 
colours of the above-named varnish makers. Mr. 
Whitelaw has issued a pamphlet advocating the claims 
of the amber theory, but I doubt whether experts yet 
give the theory more than a passing thought or 
remark, and a credulous shrug of the shoulder. 
However, the theory is gaining ground, and a large 
number of makers, alive to the many good qualities 
of the amber varnish, use it regularly. Our leading 
makers alone stand aloof, preferring to follow the 
traditional paths. The present period may not 
inaptly be termed "the amber varnish period," and 
the qualities of the varnishes must therefore be 

(i) The varnish of Mr. James Whitelaw, which 
has been on the market for several years, is a beautiful 
production. It is soft, elastic, transparent, and full 
of fire. Its one failing is its brittleness. A slight 
blow or a pressure of the thumb-nail will bring it 


off clean from the wood. Mr. Honeyman maintains 
that if it be put on carefully, each coat being allowed 
about a month and the final one six months to dry, 
it will not chip. I regret that experience compels 
me to disagree with Mr. Honeyman. These instruc- 
tions have been carried out faithfully both in this 
country and in Italy, where the climatic conditions 
are all that can be desired, still it chips. But 
" chipping " is not considered a drawback by some 
people, because that is also a characteristic of the 
Italian varnish. 

(2) Dr. Inglis Clark's varnish possesses all the 
qualities of Mr. Whitelaw's, and, in addition, a 
deeper hue. But it is not produced in so many 
colours, nor does it set so well. It takes months 
to dry, and never hardens sufficiently to resist the 
impression of the warm chin or hand. The ruby 
varnish of Dr. Clark is wondrous to behold, but 
fearful to handle. It does not chip, simply because 
it cannot. 

(3) Caffyn's varnish the patent of which has now 
been disposed of by the Messrs. Caffyn is neither so 
lustrous nor so tender as either of the above. It sets 
hard and does not chip. It has more affinity with the 
varnishes of some of our classical makers than any 
other modern varnish has that I am acquainted with. 

(4) Dr. Dickson's varnish is a magnificent produc- 
tion, but it is not for sale. The doctor is only a 
gentleman amateur, and is not even anxious that his 
varnish should be known beyond his circle of acquaint- 
ances. It is a thousand pities that he does not patent 
his discovery for the benefit of art. 

This list is only typical, not exhaustive. All that 


is good in the amber theory, however, is to be obtained 
in the fruit of the labours of these scientists. More- 
over, the varnishes just named are the productions of 
men who are thoroughly conversant with the mysteries 
of the laboratory, and not the mere haphazard mixtures 
of would-be varnish-makers. It would be well for all 
who do not possess the necessary knowledge and skill 
to make their own varnish if they used the beautiful 
varnish of Mr. Whitelaw. This, if laid on patiently 
and carefully, has a most beneficial effect upon the 
tone. The effect a varnish has upon the tone is a 
matter of supreme importance. Scores of well-made 
instruments are spoilt annually by the use of a varnish 
which has a deleterious effect on the tone. If an instru- 
ment covered with Whitelaw's varnish be examined 
under a strong lens about six months after polishing, 
it will be observed that the thin, translucent pellicle 
resembles the skin of the human body : it is porous. 
Any one who has gone into the matter carefully knows 
that the Italian varnish is also porous. In saying this 
I am not to be understood to hint that Mr. Whitelaw 
has rediscovered the lost art. But it will be readily 
understood by all that porousness is an important 
factor in relation to tone. Some makers close up the 
pores of the wood before varnishing by the application 
of albumen, gamboge, &c. This is a serious mistake, 
as the varnish cannot penetrate the wood. With the 
varnish under consideration no sizing should be used, 
but it must be allowed to soak into the wood. All 
the violins of the Cremonese masters may be regarded 
as embalmed bodies, the varnish having permeated the 
whole fabric ; so that what we really have is neither 
wood nor varnish, but a sort of compound of both. 


Every fraction of a drop of the varnish which these 
instruments have absorbed has entered into eternal 
relationship with the molecules of the wood. So that 
the nude classical gods have suffered no injury by being 
deprived of their outer garment, " the blood thereof, 
which is the life thereof," is still there. The Nessus 
robe, in this instance, has eaten' its way into the flesh, 
but only to become part of the flesh. No Lernaean 
poison has robbed the flesh of its vitality and freshness. 
All our leading professional makers use varnishes of 
their own make, but nothing need be said about them 
here beyond a general remark or two. One thing is 
very noticeable, and that is, the marked dissimilarity 
between the varnishes of Mayson, Withers, Gilbert, 
Hesketh, Atkinson, Owen, and Hardie. Apparently 
they all use different gums, or a different combination 
of gums. One could easily pick out strips of wood 
varnished by, e.g., Mayson, Gilbert, and Atkinson from 
among a thousand similar strips. The varnish of all 
of these is very fine, and that of some of them quite 
equal to the best the world has ever produced, at least 
in the opinion of those who retain sufficient control 
over their judgment to divide their devotions justly 
between classical and post-classical divinities. 

Little can be said about the modern tone, because 
its true character, unlike that of the model, workman- 
ship, and varnish, can only become fully known in the 
future. The workmanship and the varnish are at the 
summit of their glory when the instrument leaves 
the maker's hands. Some writers, I am aware, have 
gone into ecstasies over what they term the picturesque 
wear of the varnish the finger-marks of the hand of 
time. All this is very well in poetry, but when it 


comes to purchasing an old gem, undamaged work 
and unscratched varnish fetch the cash. As regards 
tone, however, age and legitimate use have a beneficial 
effect. To speak in general terms, there is too much 
of the piercing loudness of Stainer about the tone of 
the rank and file of modern fiddles. As for the tone 
of the superior instruments of the best makers, it is 
pregnant with golden promise. 


BRIDGE manufacture in our days is a distinct branch 
of industry ; and even as there is a factory fiddle, so 
also there is a factory bridge, the one lacking in indivi- 
duality and acoustic merit as much and as often as does 
the other. Very few luthiers make their own accessories 
nowadays. A gross of bridges can be purchased at 
less than the cost of making a dozen artistic ones. 
Accessories were not imported wholesale in the days of 
old, when every maker of violins was also a maker of 
fittings. The importance of the bridge cannot be 
exaggerated, as a bad one will inevitably spoil the tone 
of an instrument, however good the latter may be. It 
has ever been a matter of surprise to me that so many 
of our good makers overlook this self-evident truth. It 
is the exception, not the rule, to find a good bridge, 
and the fine qualities of many an instrument succumb 
to the perversity of the little indispensable. Factory 
fiddles are imported by the ton, one would say, and 
their only quality, to use an aphorism, is their quantity. 
The tailpiece, which is of slight acoustic importance, 
is often carefully made and elaborately inlaid, whereas 
the cheapest bridge made of green wood or baked 
wood, high and thick, is clamped on the defenceless 
fiddle. This is great injustice to the fiddle, and to the 
maker of the fiddle, for neither gets the chance to live 


and speak. A good instrument is very exacting in its 
demands upon the bridge, and the finer are its qualities 
the finer also must be those of the bridge. Another 
fact to be remembered is that fiddle and bridge, once 
properly mated, should never, if it can be avoided, be 
divorced. They ought to fight their life's battles, for 
better, for worse, in indissoluble unity. There is a 
psychic bond between them which cannot be broken 
without at the same time precipitating their united 
charm into the gulf beneath. If a bridge which has 
been on an instrument for a length of time, and which 
is found to suit it, should by chance get damaged, it 
ought to be carefully repaired and not thrown away as 
a worthless trifle. I believe there are one or two 
artists somewhere in the country who make a speciality 
of this class of repair. 

The present form of bridge originated with Stradi- 
vari, but it was as slow in 
asserting its superiority 
here as was the Strad 
model. Our early 
makers must have been 
acquainted with it, but 
they made quasi-viol and 
divers other forms of 
bridge well on towards 
the end of the eighteenth 
century. I have seen few, and very few, English 
bridges of the elect pattern of the classical period. 
Fig. i is an illustration of a bridge probably cut 
by Daniel Parker (1700-40), both fiddle and bridge 
having remained in the possession of the same 
family for upwards of a century, as is attested by 


FIG. 2. (H. Whiteside.) 

documentary evidence. This bridge is fairly charac- 
teristic of the period, and shows work which is neither 
geometrically precise nor highly finished. Fig. 2 
represents a bridge cut by Henry Whiteside at the 

close of the same century. 
The bridge is an authenti- 
cated specimen, and fairly 
well made. The bridge 
of all time advanced its 
claims chiefly through the 
instrumentality of the late 
William Ebsworth Hill. 
He made hundreds, if not 
thousands, of bridges, 
often varying the pattern^ 
but usually keeping to the best. These are as 
extremely artistic as the tools with which he made 
them were extremely simple. It is to be feared 
that time and the carelessness of players have consider- 
ably reduced the original 
number of Hill bridges. 
In the present day the 
Messrs. Hart, of Wardour 
Street, make a high-ckss 
bridge, which is as good 
as anything ever pro- 
duced. They also make 
a special study of the 
correct adjustment of the 
bridge, and the possessor of an old instrument with- 
out an old bridge cannot do better than send them 
his treasure to have a bridge fixed on which is in true 
acoustic unity with the instrument. Many innovations 

FIG. 3. (Bonn.) 


"improvements" as they are called have been intro- 
duced within recent years, and the market is deluged 
with these persistent rivals. Only the most import- 
ant can be noticed 
here. Mr. J. Edwin 
Bonn, of Brading, Isle 
of Wight, is the maker 
of the four - footed 
bridge for violin, viola, 
and violoncello. He 
believes that four feet 

FIG. 4. (Balfour.) 

ensure a more ener- 
getic and regular com- 
munication of vibrations to the front table. The 
wood is carefully selected and the design pretty (see 

Fig- 3)- 

The Messrs. Balfour, the well-known violin ex- 
perts, have patented a design which they style the 

FIG. 5. (E. Davies.) Back. 

"sound-holes bridge." I have never seen the raison 
d'etre of this invention explained, but great merits 
are claimed for it. The illustration will be familiar 
to readers of advertisements. 


Mr. Edward Davies, of Cheltenham, has invented 
a very curious bridge. It is made of two pieces of 
pine cut so that the grain runs at an angle of 45 to 
the perpendicular axis of the bridge. These are glued 
together with two narrow strips of wood between 
them, fixed almost in the shape of V, except that the 
ends forming the angle do not quite touch. The 
inclination of the grain of the two pieces of pine is 

FIG. 6. (E. Davies.) Front. 

towards the base, as shown in the illustration (Fig. 5). 
Each piece, or half, of the bridge has a protruding 
wing which reaches nearly level with the sound-holes. 
The inventor claims that this peculiar and inelegant 
bridge, in view of the nearly vertical direction of the 
grain of the wood, ensures a freer and fuller trans- 
mission of the vibrations. 

There have been sundry other innovations, which 
have " had their day and ceased to be," and which 
have made their exodus " unwept, unhonour'd, and 


A MODERATE-SIZED volume might be written on 
the history of theories anent the Stradivari tone. 
Both before and since the experiments of M. le 
Doctor Savart, the violin world has been thrown 
into agitation almost yearly by the seismic advent of 
some new theorist. 

Theories have invariably had a twofold effect 
upon the world, which are of a diametrically opposite 
tendency. The first is " Hegelian " in character, and 
may be described as the development of concepts by 
the antagonism of environment. One man has an 
idea, and this idea is strengthened by the presentation 
to his mind of another idea differing in connotation 
or denotation. For instance, the greater the number 
of ethical systems contemplated by the altruist, the 
more convinced does he become of the truth of his 
own that the chief good lies in self-abnegation. And 
one effect of new theories relative to the Stradivari 
tone has been that one class of luthiers becomes more 
convinced of the wisdom of the traditional lore and of 
the folly of the new teaching. 

The second effect of a new theory is that of pro- 
gress by reaction. Certain minds advance by a sort 
of pendulum movement. They hold one particular 
notion to-day, and when a new idea is presented to 


them to-morrow, they discard the former and accept 
the latter. They " reel to and fro " and ever stumble 
on the new. 

It is for the benefit of the class which is thus 
affected by the ubiquitous theorist that the present 
chapter is written. It is not penned with the inten- 
tion of discouraging research or scientific experiment, 
but with a view to demonstrating the utter futility of 
theorising for theorising's sake, and of frittering away 
precious moments in the pursuit of fable. Each of 
the theories dealt with below has its adherents in 
Britain to-day, some holding one, some another. Not 
a few luthiers give forth that they work on the method 
of combination, uniting in their work the good and 
the true of all and sundry hypotheses. 

The criticism undertaken is avowedly destructive. 
I do not think the time has arrived when we can by 
any constructive process build up one safe super- 
structure based upon positive knowledge. The day 
may not be far distant when all hypotheses as to the 
Stradivari tone will merge into one truth, but it is not 
yet. If the maestro had a secret, it is certain that the 
key which opens the chamber thereof has not been so 
far discovered. Furthermore, to say that Stradivari 
produced the differentiating quality of his tone by 
the united help of the principles embodied in these 
theories is as wide the mark as it is to say that he 
worked subject to the limitations of any one of them. 

Vuillaume, and others since his time, may be con- 
sidered to have made instruments on "correct'-' prin- 
ciples. They assuredly were as competent to work 
on scientific lines as Stradivari was. The exact cubic 
capacity has been repeated, the relative pitch of the 


plates, model, outline, thicknesses, &c. ; but the tone 
where is it ? There may be (and no doubt there is) 
tone which is quite as round, penetrating, rich, and 
bell-like, but it is not the tone of the great Italian. 
I would urge upon our present day makers the im- 
perative duty of accepting new theories only with 
the greatest caution. " Try the spirits of what sort 
they are" before you take them for guides. The 
majority of theorists are blind leaders of the blind. 
They are ignorant of even the alphabet of science ; 
and that they should attempt the Herculean task of 
arriving at elaborate scientific deduction is unpardon- 
ably Quixotic. Knowledge may not be the monopoly of 
the few, but it never is the commonwealth of ol TroAAo/. 
A statement of the principal theories and criticism 
thereof in tractile form will now be attempted. 


The gist of this theory may be stated thus : The 
cubic capacity of Stradivari's instruments is such as 
secures the exact mass of air required by the acoustic 
basis of construction. I object that 

(i) It is well-nigh impossible mathematically to 
secure the required exact mass. The mass of air 
present in a chamber of the description and character 
of the violin is not exactly identical at any two 
moments. Air is highly elastic, and its density at 
any particular moment depends upon atmospheric 
pressure and temperature. A mere tyro at hydro- 
statics would know this. And the quantity of rein- 
forcement of vibration by a volume of air depends 
upon the density of the air at the time. 


(2) The present cubic capacity of Stradivari's in- 
struments is not what it was when the instruments left 
his workshop. Nearly all of them have been refitted 
with a stronger bass bar and end blocks, which means 
a slight decrease in the cubic capacity. A large num- 
ber of them have been opened several times, with the 
result that the ribs are not always quite as deep as 
they originally were. Others are indented here and 
there, especially around the bridge. 


This theory was broached by M. Savart. It is 
almost incredible that a man of science should have 
lent his name to a theory based upon what is no 
better than a famine of data. The theory is, in the 
words of Fetis, that "the maple plate, or the back 
of the violin, should be a tone lower than the deal 
plate [or belly] in order to obtain the finest sonority 
possible when they are united." " Notice of Stradi- 
varius," p. 83. 

(i) The theory is arrived at by the logical fallacy 
of non-observation. Savart does not tell us that he 
examined one back or belly intact as it had left the 
hands of Stradivari ; but he constructed a fiddle, or 
some sort of musical box, the plates of which had 
been graduated to produce the said tonal difference, 
and the result was, in the estimation of Savart, a 
Stradivari tone. He had previously prepared six 
rods, three of maple and three of pine, obtained from 
three shipwrecked Strads, and he found that those of 
maple when thrown into vibration each produced 
AS, and those of pine each F. Armed with this 


discovery, he launches out into the sea of acoustics, 
and casually touching the peninsula of relative density, 
he triumphantly arrives at the haven of relative pitch. 
But mark. He does not examine a single whole back 
or whole belly in its original condition ; indeed, we 
are left in the dark as to whether he examined a com- 
plete back or belly in any condition. How then does 
he arrive at the theory of an arbitrary and uniform 
relative pitch between the plates ? The answer must 
be, I am afraid By a mere a posteriori guess. 

(2) I submit that never have a Stradivari back and 
belly, in their original condition^ been examined with a 
view of determining their tonal pitch, and I throw 
out the challenge to the world to bring forward 
historical facts (not irresponsible statements) to the 

(3) I submit further that there is not one known 
Stradivari instrument in existence with its plates in 
their original condition. The strengthening of the 
bass bar must of necessity alter the pitch of the table. 
The use of glue in repairing is another item which 
must be considered. A rod of glue would give a 
very different note from a rod of pine, and although 
the quantity of glue used in repairing is exceedingly 
small, still it is a fraction which must be taken into 
account. A large percentage of Strad backs and 
bellies have some little glue in their flesh by now. 

(4) It seemingly has never entered into any one's 
mind that varnished plates give a different note from 
the same plates in the white. There is a difference of 
thickness to take into account, but more important is 
the alteration in density. Oil varnishes penetrate the 
wood and increase the specific gravity of the plates, 


especially that of the front table, which absorbs more 
of the varnish. Presuming that the unvarnished plates 
of Stradivari were worked to give the required tonal 
difference, there is no reason to suppose that the said 
difference would be maintained after varnishing. The 
rods which Savart tested were charged with varnish, 
and no correct deduction could be arrived at as to 
what their pitch if tested in the white would be. 

But we must give Savart his due : he did not for 
a moment suggest that his discovery accounted for 
the whole of the truth as to Stradivari's secret. 
Others less endowed with sagacity have done that 
since his days. 


Different | pieces of timber differ in density. The 
maestro knew what densities would give the necessary 
acoustic accord, or " psychic " unity. The supporters 
of this view are very numerous. Some of our chief 
writers have lent it their support. The Rev. H. R. 
Haweis in "Old Violins," p. 230, says: "Charles 
Reade was napping when he expressed a hope that 
a certain Stradivari back, mated with a new belly, 
might some day be united to some Stradivari back 
[sic: 'belly' he means] of which he knew; but 
unless it happened to be the belly Strad had selected 
for that particular back, what reason is there to sup- 
pose that the result would be satisfactory ? " 

To this theory I urge the following objections : 
(i) The only method of determining the density 
of timber is by use of the hydrostatic balance, and 
to credit Stradivari with a knowledge of the law of 


specific gravity and its application is to demand too 
much upon our credulity. The great luthier might 
have been a keen observer of natural laws, but of 
exact science he knew nothing. I have seen it asserted 
that Stradivari was familiar with the principles of 
acoustics and hydrostatics, but no one acquainted with 
the history of Italy, much less with the biography of 
Antonio, could have made such a rash statement. 
Italian peasants and the average Italian artisan are 
notoriously ignorant of and supremely indifferent to 
the intricacies of book learning even to-day, and what 
must they have been two hundred years ago ? Any 
one who has travelled in Italy can better imagine the 
ignorance that prevails than it can be described. The 
old luthiers had received at most only the barest of a 
bare elementary education. 

(2) The specific gravity or density of different 
pieces of pine and maple of the same cubic capacity 
varies infinitely. For instance, a hundred pieces of 
pine of exactly the same dimensions, cut from the 
same log, and from the same side of it, if you like, 
would be found, if accurately tested, to give a hundred 
different results in specific gravity. I have conducted 
an immense number of experiments in this way with 
the hydrostatic balance, and can testify that it is a rare 
occurrence to find two piecee of either maple or pine 
that are perfectly identical in density. 

(3) By the mathematical theory of chance, the 
possibility of Stradivari hitting upon a uniform ratio 
of specific gravity between the plates in some two 
thousand instruments is as infinity to zero against 

(4) If there were anything in this theory, the 


slightest divergence from the correct ratio would 
mean an acoustic disturbance. Now, since it is mathe- 
matically impossible to repeat the necessary ratio in so 
many instances, how is it possible to repeat the result ? 
The "Stradivari tone" is not the property of one 
particular Stradivari instrument, but of all of these 
in common. 


This theory holds that the peculiar timbre of the 
tone is due to some particular quality of the wood, 
and that Stradivari had intuitively arrived at a know- 
ledge of the said quality. 

I reply that Stradivari had no doubt attained a 
high degree of wisdom in the choice of his material, 
but that his wood differed from that of all others is 
highly improbable. There is every reason to believe 
that Carlo Bergonzi, who was his pupil, used the same 
kind of wood. The sons, as a matter of course, used 
their father's timber, and after the old man's death 
they used up all the spare material. But neither Carlo 
Bergonzi nor the sons produced the Stradivari tone. 


This theory has been broached by an ingenious 
American, a Mr. Louis Hastings Hall, of Hartford, 
Conn. It differs very little in principle from another 
theory elaborated by Mr. Otto Migge, which has been 
termed the "Natural Varnishing" theory. They both 
adopt tension or elasticity as the pivot of their argu- 
ments. The only difference between the two appa- 
rently is that the former says the violin is not a 


vibrating body, whereas the latter asserts that the 
increased tension or elasticity secures the augmented 
and regular vibration necessary to produce the Stra- 
divari tone. 

These theories, for they are both one for all prac- 
tical purposes, shall be stated in the words of Mr. 
Hall himself, as they appeared in a letter published in 
the January number of The Strad (1903) by Dr. T. 
Lamb Phipson : 

" You know how the tension in a drum head im- 
proves a drum, well, it makes just as much improve- 
ment in a violin ; that is, with the top and back sprung 
on to the violin rib, the tone is made to improve just 
as much as the maker has skill. I have gained such 
control over the working of the tension that I can 
make any possible power or quality which could be 
desired. The main principle is quite simple, but has 
many variations. 

" I cut the top up in an arch (about inch) and 
spring it down along the side margins on to the ribs. 
I cut the back so that it touches the inner bouts, and 
springs down at each end. This throws the tone 
outside the instrument, and gives it great power and 

" Now, to prove this, I cut the back up in an arch 
and sprang it down the same on the top ; the tone is 
entirely drawn inside, so that the bow slides over the 
strings, and cannot bring out a particle of tone. The 
arching of the tension can be changed so as to alter 
the balance of the strain, and each alteration makes a 
change in the tone. Even the bridge is built so that 
where the springs exert a pressure, it is filled with 
tension, and therefore transmits the tone. When the 


mute is put on it interrupts this tension and deadens 
the tone. 

" I have found that a violin, instead of being a 
vibrating body, is just the opposite ; namely, a body 
of tension and resistance. I found out, through a 
London maker, that Stradivari graded two square 
spots, about f inch inside of the upper corners, on 
the top ; instantly I realised why he did that. 

"When a top is sprung on, the greatest strain 
comes between these two corners, and if the wood is 
not thinned out here, some of the tones are screechy, 
and right here lies Stradivari's secret for producing an 
even scale. I could go along down the line and cite 
a hundred cases where the tension theory will answer 
every question." 

(1) It is hardly necessary to make a serious effort 
to refute these pseudo-scientific observations. To say 
that the violin is not a vibrating body is an unpardon- 
able subversion of truth, and shows gross ignorance of 
the elements of acoustics. Every schoolboy, to use 
Macaulay's famous phrase, knows that where there is 
no vibration there can be no sound, musical or other- 
wise. From a letter which I received from the dis- 
coverer of this remarkable acoustic phenomenon, I 
infer that the writer maintains that the violin itself 
does not vibrate, but only the strings and the air 
inside. Now, how the strings can communicate their 
vibration to the air inside the violin without material 
transmission, i.e. without the help of an intermediate 
agent, is a problem altogether too subtle for me, and 
I will attempt no solution. 

(2) The bent plates do not retain their tension. 
Six months will suffice to minimise any tension they 


may originally have had. A piece of board, say, I yard 
x 2" x J", bent to a semicircle, tied, and exposed to 
the elements, will be found after the lapse of a few 
months to have lost nearly all its tension. In two or 
three years there will be absolutely no resistance left. 


This theory holds that the timbre of the Stradivari 
tone is due to the definite relation between the above 
three great unities of violin construction ; these unities 
entering into a mystical trinity of art and producing 
the one perfect unity of sound. 

Whilst admitting the importance of outline, arch- 
ing, and thicknesses in their relation to tone, I submit 
that this so-called "trinity in unity" in the art of 
violin construction does not account for the distinctive 
qualities of the tone in question, for the following 
reasons : 

(1) The outline, arching, and thickness of Stradi- 
vari have been copied to the wth, as mathematicians 
would say, but without obtaining the desired result. 

(2) Many of the finest Strads have had their thick- 
nesses " rectified " by the Goths and Vandals of the art 
of repairing. This was in the days of another theory, 
to wit, when it was believed that to scrape away the 
plates on the inside would give an increase of tone. 
These scraped plates have had to be patched. But in 
spite of thinning and patching the tone has still 
the distinctive Stradivari timbre, as is evidenced by 
comparison with more fortunate Strads. 

If there were an original subtle relation between the 
" unities," it has been disturbed by the irreverent hand 



of time, and, according to the theory, the peculiar 
quality of tone ought also to have disappeared. 


This is a theory recently broached by a German, 
Carl Schulze, in a work entitled Stradivaris Geheimniss 
Ein ausfuhrliches Lehrbuch des Geigenbanes (Berlin, 
1901). It holds that the proportions existing between 
certain dimensions of Stradivari's model correspond 
exactly with the ratios of some of the musical intervals, 
and that the interior volume of Stradivari's model is an 
accurately determined acoustic space. " The first law 
with the old masters was to design the model in such 
a manner that the vibrations of the parts should not 
interrupt the vibrations of the whole ; and in order to 
secure this it is necessary that the partial proportions 
should be inter-related, and also in definite ratio to the 
total dimensions. The interior length of the body of 
the violin is 346.5 millimetres, which is divided by the 
bridge into two parts in the ratio of = the ratio of a 
minor third, and again by the sound-post into parts in 
the ratio of i = perfect fourth. A straight line drawn 
to join the corners of the upper bouts would divide 
the body of the instrument into two parts in the ratio 
of f = an octave," &c. &c. 

This theory can claim no further merit to dis- 
tinction than that it is very ingenious and highly 
diverting. Two considerations alone need be urged 
against it : 

( i ) The proportions of Stradivari have been copied 
with the utmost exactitude ten thousand times, but 
without the result sought for. 


(2) " Definite harmonic proportion " is a purely 
imaginary notion, unsupported by fact. 

In conclusion, I would add that whilst submitting 
these theories to rigorous destructive criticism, it is 
not thereby sought to disparage the importance of 
wood, model, thicknesses, &c. Each of these has its 
modifying influence upon tone. What is implied, and 
emphatically asserted, is that not one of them, nor all 
combined, can account for the peculiar quality or 
timbre of the Stradivari tone. 





ABSAM, THOMAS, Wakefield : 1810-49. I have seen 
two instruments of his make, both violins, one on the Stradi- 
vari model, and the other on that of N. Amati. The work- 
manship is of average merit, and the varnish a spirit one, hard 
and lifeless. He made chiefly for Pickard, a dealer in Leeds. 
Label : 



WAKEFIELD, FEB. 14, 1883 

ACTON, WILLIAM JOHN, London, contemporary. 
He works at Gipsey Lane, Forest Gate, E. He was born in 
St. Mary Street, Woolwich, on December 12, 1848, and is the 
only son of his father, A. W. Acton. He was educated at 
Rectory Place Academy. He was trained by his father, and 
carried on business at Woolwich till 1898, when he removed to 
his present address. He made his first instrument in 1868, and 
up to date he has completed no violins, 12 violas, 19 violon- 
cellos, and 10 double basses. He also makes bows. His wood 
is good, rather plain, but well chosen for acoustical qualities. 
His varnish is an amber oil one, of his own make. Colours : 
amber, ruby, and brown. 

His model is original, approximating to that of Stradivari. 
The measurements are : 

Length of body .... 14 inches. 

Width of upper bouts .... 6 T 7 F 
lower bouts .... 8^- 


Width of inner bouts .... 4! inches. 

Length of inner bouts from corner to 

corner 3 T \j 

Length of sound-holes .... 2^ 

Width between sound-holes at top . if 

bottom . 5 

Height of sides at lower bouts . . i^ 

upper bouts . . I T S ^ 

arching .... ^ 

The^~holes are original, and are quite in keeping with the 
contour of the instrument. The scroll is very good, and shows 
much force of character. The purfling tool is handled almost 
without a tremor, and the purfle is inlaid with taste. The in- 
finitesimal chips and gaps so often observable in the purfle of 
some makers is conspicuous by its entire absence. Of course, 
this is a very small matter, and it in no way affects the acoustic 
qualities of the instrument, but it is well that it is not ignored 
at the same time. 

The tone of the instruments which I have seen by this 
maker was powerful and penetrating. One instrument I 
examined had a particularly fine G string. The tone has 
nothing of the Amati sweetness about it, and nothing of the 
bell-like clearness of Stradivari, but it is a good tone, neverthe- 
less, and ought to develop further good qualities. 

Here is a facsimile of his label : 

He sells his instruments at prices ranging from 6 for the 
violins up to 35 for the double basses. His bows are strong 
and well-balanced, but not highly artistic. 


ADAMS, CATHUNE, Garmouth, Scotland. From about 
1775 till about 1805. He made kits, violins, and violoncellos. 
Model, N. Amati. The workmanship is fairly good, but the 
varnish is very inferior, hard, and of an ugly yellow colour. 
The tone is much better than the appearance of the instru- 
ments would lead one to expect. All his labels are handwritten 
on white paper : 




ADDISON, WILLIAM, London. Period unknown, but 
about 1650-75. It is not certain whether or not he made 
violins, but he made viols. Label : 




AIRETON, EDMUND, London. Period, 1730-1807. 
His best instruments are on the Amati model. He also made 
many violins on the Stainer model, and a few, of inferior make, 
on the Stradivari model a fact which proves that the model 
of the great Italian was little appreciated in England and not 
thought worthy of the best effort at the time. The workman- 
ship is good, and the tone of a fair quality. The varnish is a 
spirit one, of a lustreless yellow. It has been surmised that a 
workman of the same name, who was working with Peter 
Wamsley in 1735, was his father. 

AIRTH, WILLIAM, Edinburgh. From about 1860 till 
1 88 1. He emigrated in that year to Australia, where he has 
remained since, only occasionally making violins. His instru- 
ments are on the lines of Stradivari, but considerably modified. 
Fair workmanship and average tone. 

ALDRED, . A maker of viols. Period, somewhere 

about the middle of the sixteenth century. His instruments 


were very celebrated in the seventeenth century, and much in 
demand. They were classed with those of Jay, Smith, and 
Bolles, by Mace in his " Musick's Monument." 

ALLEN, EDWARD HERON-, London, contemporary. 
He resides at 3 Northwick Terrace, N.W. He claims a very 
warm place all to himself in a dictionary of this sort, not only 
because he has made one or two fiddles, but also because he 
is the author of the very popular work, " Violin Making, as it 
Was and Is," a book which has done more real service to the 
art in this country than all other books combined. Mr. Heron- 
Allen was born in London on the ijih December 1861, and 
was educated at Harrow. When he left his alma mater in 
1878, and became an articled clerk in the firm of which he is 
now the senior partner, he was already very keen on the violin, 
having studied under Otto Peiniger at school. He then began 
with his allowance of pocket-money to collect books on music, 
but having soon discovered that this was too wide an under- 
taking, he determined to devote his attention exclusively to 
books on the violin. The nucleus of his collection were John 
Bishop's edition of Otto's Treatise, Sandy's and Forster's 
" History," and a battered copy of Dubourg's book. Then 
followed Fetis's Stradivari, and the common biography of 
Paganini. This was a small, but a sure beginning, and 
to-day his fiddle bookcase is ten feet high by six, and 
full to overflowing. As long ago as 1893 he refused an 
offer of 2000 for his library, made by Mr. P. W. Pickup, 
the enthusiastic amateur violinist and colliery owner of 

Mr. Heron-Allen soon found, however, that though there 
were plenty of theoretical books, histories, and biographies 
bearing on the violin, the information concerning how to 
make a fiddle was so meagre as to be practically represented by 
the symbol x. His office being in Soho (where it has been a 
good deal over a century), and the articled clerk of a solicitor's 
office being a proverbially idle creature, he had plenty of time 
in which to make friends with the fiddle-makers, and the shops 


of the Hills, old Boulangier, the elder Tubbs, the elder Hart, 
the elder Chanot, and the Withers Brothers, became his habitual 
lounges. He determined, if possible, to supply the lack of a 
practical book on fiddle-making. But though he collected a 
quantity of disjointed information (many, many, the cigars they 
smoked together, old Chanot God rest his soul ! and he, in 
the former's back shop), he did not think, even though he was 
young enough to have implicit and unlimited confidence in 
himself, that he knew enough to warrant him in writing a 
book on the subject. On the 4th and 5th of May 1882, 
Carl Engel's library was sold, and at his sale he got a few more 
books on the violin, but most of them were bought over his 
head by Bernard Quaritch. This necessitated his calling 
upon Mr. Quaritch and negotiating the re-sale to him of 
the books he wanted. It was then Mr. Heron-Allen and 
Mr. Quaritch formed the friendship which still exists between 
them. This seems irrelevant, but it is not. Quaritch seeing 
that Heron-Allen was so full of youthful enthusiasm about 
the fiddle, let him have his coveted books at practically the 
prices he had given for them, and furthermore enjoined him 
to write a treatise on the violin and deliver it, as his guest, at 
a meeting of the then recently (1878) founded "Sette of Odd 

This lecture he delivered on Friday, June 2, 1882, and 
he made the acquaintance on that occasion of Captain Sir 
Richard Burton and Commander Cameron, with the former 
of whom he remained most intimate until his (Sir Richard 
Burton's) death. It was Sir Richard that encouraged him still 
further to collect the literature of the violin and complete his 
studies of the instrument itself. The lecture was printed for 
the author by Mitchell & Hughes in Wardour Street, and 
became No. I of his series of pamphlets on the violin called 
De Fidiculh Opuscula ; it afterwards formed part of the in- 
troduction to "Violin Making." This launched him upon 
the sea of violin literature on his own account, and after 
making further investigations in Wardour Street, he decided to 
get taken on as a casual apprentice in a workshop, and really 


learn, step by step, the art and mystery of violin-making. The 
final " push-off " was given by the publishers, Messrs. Ward, 
Lock & Co., who just at that time projected their monthly 
magazine called Amateur Work^ and he undertook to supply 
them with a series of articles on practical fiddle-making for 
amateurs, at what then struck him as the magnificent re- 
muneration of 75. 6d. per page, the copyright and all rights of 
reprinting the articles in book form to be the absolute property 
of the publishers, without further payment. Mr. Heron- Allen 
was most pleasantly young then ! It need hardly be said that 
Messrs. Ward, Lock have never made him any payment in 
respect of the many editions they have issued since 1884. 
Indeed, a few years ago, when the author offered to revise the 
book for a small fee, they stated that they did not feel justified 
in incurring the expense ! 

Mr. Heron-Allen at last made arrangements with old Mr. 
Chanot that the latter should supply him with wood, at a price, 
and that he should work at his fiddle whenever he could, paying 
the sum of IDS. 6d. for every hour he worked in the shop. 
Chanot made a violin step by step with his pupil, and so did 
his son Joseph (the first he had made). So it may be said that 
J. A. Chanot and the subject of this sketch were apprenticed 
together. Mr. Heron-Allen began his first fiddle, a Strad 
model on the hollow or "inside" mould, on April 20, 1882, 
and he took two fiddles, made exactly as described in his book, 
away finished on September 15, 1883, made, of course, entirely 
with his own hands. Meanwhile he described every step in 
his articles in Amateur Work^ from notes made in the workshop 
at the time. It is improbable that it ever occurred to Georges 
Chanot that he was a " chiel " taking notes for publication. 
If it had, it is not likely that he would have learnt as much as 
he did of the mysteries of a fiddle-maker's workshop. The 
two fiddles were made from the best materials procurable. 
The measurements are those given in " Violin Making, as it 
Was and Is." They are varnished with fifteen coats of a tender 
amber-coloured varnish, with a glint of rose in it. This is laid 
on a coat of bright yellow saffron stain, which gives a speck 


of fire wherever the oil varnish has chipped or worn. Not 
that it has chipped much, for even now it is perfectly tender 
and elastic. The composition of his varnish is as (or nearly as) 
described in the above-named book. Mr. Heron-Allen is of 
opinion, however, that no one can give a perfect recipe for 
varnish ; it is, he says, just like making claret-cup or punch, 
one begins with a rough formula, and tastes and adds this and 
that as it seems required, until it is all right. No varnish worth 
the name, he further maintains, can be made on a set-fast for- 
mula varnishes so composed vary at various seasons and in 
various climates. It is interesting to note that the Rev. H. R. 
Haweis appears to hold an identical opinion (see "Old Violins," 
p. 149). Mr. Heron-Allen's fiddles have matured very rapidly, 
considering that they are left very thick in wood. The tone 
is reported to be large and mellow, and of great equality on all 
the strings. Joachim, Wilhelmj, Johannes Wolff", Simonetti, 
and a host of other great violinists have played upon the Joseph 
copy (Mr. Heron-Allen's favourite instrument), and have ex- 
pressed some astonishment and a great deal of kind admiration 
at it. 

Mr. Heron-Allen has ceased to make fiddles, but is keener 
than ever on Fiddle Lore. Since 1885 he has continued to 
amass books on the subject, and he is proud to possess a good 
many works which are not represented in the British Museum, 
the Bibliothe'que Nationale, nor in the Bibliothe'que Royale in 
Brussels. He published a catalogue of them in 1891-94, in 
two volumes, quarto, under the title of De Fidiculh Blblio- 
graphia, comprising about 1400 items. For his first book he 
was sent by the Commissioners of the Inventions and Music 
Exhibition of 1885 to collect ancient musical instruments, and 
he received a certificate of merit and a silver medal ; for his 
Bibliography he was elected Socio Onorario e Benemerito of the 
Academia di Santa Cecilia in Rome. His further publications 
have been " Hodges v. Chanot the History of a Celebrated 
Case," " Fidiculana," and a book of essays on the violin, 
"The Letters of de Beriot," "The Seal of Roger Wade," 
a curious early document upon the Welsh Crwth, and " The 


Arts and Crafts Book of the Worshipful Guild of Markneu- 
kirchen Violin Makers." Mr. Heron-Allen is also the posses- 
sor of the largest collection of unpublished autograph letters of 
celebrated violinists in England. He was fortunate enough to 
secure nearly all the letters written by violinists to Louis Spohr 
at his sale some years ago. 

Mr. Heron-Allen's labels are drawn in pen and ink, and 
each one differently. The instruments he has made are at his 
own and at his father's residence. They were not made for 
sale, and no price is put upon them ; in fact, he would not 
part with them for any consideration. 

ALLEN, SAMUEL, London, contemporary. He is 
principally a bow-maker. He was for several years in the 
employ of the Messrs. Hill, and was held in high esteem by 
them as a first-class workman. In 1891 he started business 
on his own account as a violin and bow maker and repairer, 
but he devotes his time principally to bow-making. His 
workmanship is excellent, and his bows have a graceful and 
durable cambre, which, together with a nice balance, gives them 
a place in the front rank of modern bows. Allen was born 
in Cornwall in 1858, and was educated for the scholastic 

ANDERSON, HENRY, Edinburgh, contemporary. He 
was born in Auchtermuchty in May 1839. He has made 
about 1 20 violins, and repaired extensively. Model : Joseph 
Guarnerius. I have not seen any of his work, but it is said 
to be of good average merit. He received a diploma and 
bronze medal at the Glasgow East End Exhibition, 1890, for 
a case of violins. 

ANDERSON, JOHN, Aberdeen. He was born in 
1829, and died [in 1883. He said that he made about a 
thousand instruments of every description. His model ap- 
proximated to that of Stradivari, early period. The varnish is 
an oil one of an indifferent quality, in various colours. The 


tone is moderately powerful, but rather harsh in the two or 
three specimens seen by me. Label : 




ANDERSON, JOHN, Glasgow, contemporary. He 
is the son of the preceding John Anderson, and was born 
December 25, 1856, at Aberdeen. He has made a large 
number of violins on a modified Strad model. They are 
fairly well made, and suitable for orchestral purposes. The 
only instrument of his make seen by me was varnished in 
golden red, unpolished, with rather weak sound-holes, and 
somewhat ungainly corners. 

ANYON, THOMAS, Manchester, contemporary. A 
gentleman amateur, who produces excellent work. He was 
born in Preston, June 8, 1854, and educated at the Normal 
School there. Throughout life he has always been fond of 
studious pursuits, particularly of painting, music, modelling, 
science, &c., with ever the fiddle as his constant friend. It 
was the perusal of " Violin Making, as it Was and Is,'* by 
E. Heron-Allen, which first gave him the incentive to construct 
a violin. Before so doing he studied the mathematics of the 
instrument for many months, experimenting with volumes of 
air acting upon resonating plates of different media, and con- 
structing a sound-box in order to obtain reliable data as to 
thicknesses and air volumes. The results justifying further 
research, he made his first instrument in 1892, and is now 
constructing his fifty-third. During the year 1895 he employed 
for eight months two assistants to help in the rough work 
only, but was obliged to dispense with their help, finding from 
beginning to end that the task of getting anything like the 
violin art and finish out of cabinet-workers' labour was a 
hopeless one. His model is original, of full proportions, and 
very artistic. The varnish is an oil one of different shades. 
On the instruments examined by me it was a deep golden red 


perfectly transparent and fiery. The workmanship is magni- 
ficent, and the tone large, rich, and free. The maker's mono- 
gram is carved on the back of the scroll, at the base near the 
scollop. Mr. Anyon tells me that he has sold several of his 
instruments privately at prices ranging from thirty to fifty 
guineas. Label : 

ARNOT, DAVID. Worked in Glasgow, and was born 
at Crieff in the year 1831. He made many violins on the 
Amati, Stradivari, and Guarneri models, and produced very 
good work. In 1888 he opened a shop in Stockwell Street, 
Glasgow, from which time till his death in 1897 he was 
mostly engaged in repairing. The label is handwritten : 

GLASGOW, 1890 

ASKEW, JOHN, Stanhope, nineteenth century. Said to 
be a good maker. He won a gold medal at the Inventions 
Exhibition, London, 1885, for an exhibit of instruments. 

ASKEY, SAMUEL. Worked in London ; period about 
1800-40. Originally a tinman, he became a pupil of John 
Morrison, and worked for some time for George Corsby. 
The work varies in character ; some of his Amati copies 
showing very intelligent work, but the tone is rather weak 
and harsh. No label of his is known. 

ASPINALL, JAMES, Bolsterstone, contemporary. An 
amateur who produces very commendable work. He was 
born in the parish of Penistone, Yorks, October n, 1855. 
He is of a mechanical and inventive turn of mind, and has 


built an organ, on which he was engaged for three years. He 
made his first violin after reading Mr. Heron-Allen's book, 
and since then he has made about thirty violins and a few 
violas. He works on the Strad model, adopting the drawings 
and dimensions of Riechers, except for the thicknesses. The 
workmanship is good all over, and the tone moderately 
powerful, clear, and responsive. Varnish : Whitelaw's. Label 
(printed in copying ink from a rubber stamp) : 





ATKINSON, WILLIAM, Tottenham, contemporary. 
He was born at Stepney, on October 23, 1851, and is the 
son of James and Hannah Atkinson. He works at Holt 
House, High Road, Tottenham, and is one of the best 
makers of modern times. His full name is William Thomas 
Reed Atkinson, but he always signs his name simply " William 
Atkinson." He was educated at Lukeing's Grammar School, 
Mile End Road, Stepney. At the age of fourteen he re- 
moved with his parents to Liverpool, where he had to serve 
behind the bar for some time at his uncle's public-house, the 
"Shrewsbury Arms," Oxton, near Birkenhead. This was 
much against the boy's inclination, but necessity knows no 

After that he served as second steward on board several 
steamships belonging to Messrs. Bibby, such as the Italian, 
the Arabian, &c., the captain, a Mr. Urquhart, taking him 
with him from one vessel to the other. 

During his seafaring career his parents removed back to 
London, and when he had got tired of " ploughing the blue " 
he joined them there, and apprenticed himself to a Mr. Hume, 
a joiner. He was married on October 6, 1880, to Miss Mary 
Elizabeth Camper, at Bromley-by-Bow Church. He has two 
sons, viz., William Camper, and John Benjamin Camper. 

His first instrument dates back to 1869, and was made 


whilst serving his time as a joiner. Since he has taken up the 
gouge as a professional violin-maker, he has made 130 violins, 
numbered consecutively, and many more unnumbered. The 
majority of the latter he has destroyed, because they did not come 
up to his standard of excellence. He works on two original 
models. The measurements of model No. I are as follows : 

Length of body 13^ inches. 

Width across upper bouts 6| 

middle bouts . . . 4! 

lower bouts . . . 8 T 3 ^ 

Depth of ribs at bottom . . . . i| 

top .... i^ 

Length of sound- holes . . . . 3sV " 

Distance between sound-holes at top . i| 

Elevation from | inch to ... f 

A fine instrument made on this model is shown in the 
accompanying illustration. 

The measurements of model No. 2 are the same, except 
that at the top, middle, and bottom bouts, it is -^ inches 

Mr. Atkinson's wood is excellent. The figure of his 
maple is, as a rule, of medium width. His pine, which is 
from Berne, is simply perfect, having a " reed " rather under 
medium width, perfectly straight and well-defined. His 
outline is in the best Italian style. It is gracefulness 
incarnate. A very strong expression, but a true one. As 
the form of the gazelle is to that of the ordinary antelope, 
so is the outline of Atkinson to that of the ordinary fiddle. 
The scroll is a masterly conception and of Pheidian beauty. 

The following measurements carefully taken will give a 
correct idea of its proportions : 

Length from scollop to apex of volute . 4^ inches. 

Width from boss-edge to boss -edge . . i 

of volute close to scollop i 
at apex .... \ 

Depth of peg-box close to scollop i 
at throat ... 

Photo. A.&>G. Taylor 

(Fecit 1903) 


( Width of peg- box inside .... finches. 
I Diminishing to . . . . . .',., 

Depth of first curl of volute . . . 

second curl of volute . . ny 

Thickness of sides of peg-box . . ^ 

The first turn parts suddenly from the boss, as in the best 
examples of Stradivari. The edges are softened down gently, 
with black lines to emphasise the extreme outline. 

The button is nearly semicircular, with toned-down edge, 
and is in perfect keeping with the contour. The margin is 
one-fifth wide. The edges are strong and rounded ; but the 
"rounding" is not over-pronounced. The elevation of the 
edge above the purfle-bed is almost imperceptible. The 
margin and edges present a delicately refined appearance. 
In fact, everything about the Atkinson violins betokens 
aristocratic refinement. The purfling is one-sixteenth wide, 
the inner strip having a width which is slightly greater than 
that of the outer ones combined. 

The varnish is beautiful, ranging in colour from pale straw 
to light ruby, and of the most delicate tints. On a specimen 
recently seen by me, and which had been examined and most 
flatteringly commented upon by the late Duke of Saxe-Coburg- 
Gotha, the varnish was straw-coloured and of the richest and 
tenderest hue. It is perfectly transparent and elastic, and soft 
as velvet to the touch. It is laid on in very thin coats and 
dried in the open air. Sometimes as many as twenty coats 
are given, but the final thickness of varnish is scarcely more 
than one-sixty-fourth of an inch. 

Mr. Atkinson's tone is quite remarkable. It is not exactly 
like the tone of any other maker, classical or post-classical, that 
I am acquainted with. The size of the instrument would lead 
one to expect a tone of small volume, but such is not the case. 
The tone is strong without being loud, penetrating without 
being piercing. One need not go to Atkinson for mere loud- 
ness. His is a mellow tone with a silver ring. Its echo in 
a large hall is like the sound of an anvil struck at a distant 
smithy and borne by the breeze. It is the tc ne of the dulcimer 


magnified, clarified, beatified. It is a delicious tone ! For 
this reason the Atkinson fiddles are pre-eminently solo in- 
struments. For a similar reason it would not be wise to 
furnish the same orchestra with them throughout. That the 
gods rain honey on flowers is a kind provision ; if they did it 
on grass they would spoil the world. 

Mr. Atkinson obtained a bronze medal at Paris, 1889, and 
a silver medal at Edinburgh, 1890. Since 1890, he has de- 
veloped his ideas considerably, and has freed himself entirely 
from the trammels of the French school. 

His price is fixed at a uniform figure, 15. He makes 
violins only, and all the work is personal. 

As a man, the subject of this sketch is highly interesting. 
He is possessed of a persistent personality. He is unique 
without being eccentric. His whole character is cast into a 
mould, and the fiddle is the pivot of his life. He has no spare 
moments save for one thing religion. He is busy, but not 
anxious j modest, but not suspicious. He is consummately 
skilful as a mechanic nothing proving too difficult for his 
gouge. Facsimile label : 

in ToffienAam I9O3. 

The label is varnished over with the same colour varnish 
as that used on the fiddle, to prevent the ink from fading or 
running. The maker's monogram is also inlaid on the back 
under the button. 


BAINES, , London ; about 1780. Nothing is known 

of him beyond the fact that he worked for Matthew Furber 
for some little time, whose pupil he was. 


BAKER, FRANCIS, London. An old viol-maker. A 
bass viol bearing the following label was seen by somebody 
somewhere about eighty years ago : 



1696, LONDON 

BAKER, JOHN, Oxford, 1680-1720. He made viols 
chiefly, but towards the end of his life is supposed to have 
turned his attention to violins. No one, however, has seen 
any of these. Tom Britten had a fine viol of his make in his 
collection. A four-stringed viola da gamba was among the 
exhibits at the South Kensington Special Exhibition, 1872, 
bearing the following label : 




ANNO 1688 

BALLANTINE, , Edinburgh and Glasgow. No- 
thing known of him. Somewhere about 1850. 

BANKS, BENJAMIN, Salisbury. He was born on 
July 14, 1727, and died on February 18, 1795. He was 
the second son and the third child of George and Barbarah 
Banks, of the parish of St. Thomas, Salisbury. From Grove's 
"Dictionary of Music and Musicians," vol. ii. p. 164 (1890), 
it appears that Banks was not a native of Salisbury, but early 
migrated there. This can hardly be correct, as it would in- 
volve the removal of the parents to London and their return 
to Salisbury within a short period of time. George and 
Barbarah Banks were living in Salisbury in 1725 and in 1730, 
and it is not likely that, in those days, they would have made 
a move to, and a return from a distant town within five years. 
But nothing can be stated with certainty, as the old registers 
of the parish of St. Thomas are lost, and the transcripts in the 
Diocesan Registry are irregular. The following are the only 


entries contained in the transcripts with reference to the 
Banks family : 

" Baptisms 

21 March 1722, George, son of George and Barbarah Banks. 
8 July 1725, Elizabeth, daughter of George and Barbarah 


15 August 1730, William, son of George and Barbarah Banks. 
2O June 1732, Mary, daughter of George and Barbarah Banks." 

The transcripts are very incomplete, and there are none from 
the year 1740 to 1778, nor are there any for the year 1727 
the year of Benjamin's birth and baptism. Strange to relate, 
the burial entries are also missing for the year 1795, as if Fate 
were resolved to cheat the future biographers of Banks of 
every scrap of information respecting his birth, baptism, and 
death ! Banks has been styled " the English Amati," a title 
which he no doubt fully deserves. It must be admitted, how- 
ever, that only in his finest efforts does he soar above Duke, 
Forster, and one or two others. I have seen some examples 
of Duke which were quite equal as regards workmanship and 
tone to the best of Banks' efforts, but the varnish of the latter, 
when he exercised care in the application of it, gives him the 
advantage. Duke's varnish is refined but cold ; the varnish of 
Banks is rich and fiery. As Hart very justly remarks : " It 
has all the characteristics of fine Italian varnish." The work 
of Banks may be divided into two classes : (i) the Stainer 
copies, and (2) the Amati copies. Banks, when left to his 
own choice, copied no one but Amati, but his patrons and the 
trade frequently demanded that he should, in accordance with 
the taste of the times, supply Stainer copies. No one is 
responsible for this inference but myself, and it is therefore 
necessary that I should attempt to justify it. The majority of 
the instruments made by him for Longman & Broderip, and 
which bear that firm's stamp on the back, are Stainer copies, 
and show work which is inferior to that seen in his Amati 
copies. Other instruments of the same model, made, perhaps, 
to the order of private patrons, are also lacking in finish, 
carelessly varnished, and altogether weak in individuality. It 


is as though the good man were impatient of his model, and in 
a hurry to get the instrument out of the way. Patient labour, 
loving care, and luscious varnish were reserved for the model 
of his heart's choice. Only when the material happened to 
be poor or plain is there evidence of impatience in the finish 
of the Amati copies. I throw out this suggestion tentatively. 
I have seen a goodly number of Banks' instruments, and can- 
not recall a single exception to this rule, but I do not wish to 
be dogmatic ; I only hope that there is some truth in my 
contention, because I would fain believe that there was one 
at least of our classical makers who was entirely out of 
sympathy with the Stainer cult. It is absolutely certain that 
the best work of Banks is to be seen in his better model, and 
it is universally true that a man is at his best in the subject he 
most loves. Lupot was ill at ease except when tracing the 
lines of Stradivari, or when moulding those faithful copies 
which he gave to the world of his beloved ideal. 

(i) The Stainer copies, as already stated, show comparatively 
inferior work. The model is long, from 14^ to I4 T V> with a 
perceptible narrowing of the upper third of the instrument. 
The arching is slightly exaggerated, having the ridge quaintly 
accentuated between the sound-holes. It is as though the 
copyist had caught the salient feature, par excellence, of the 
original, and thinking it sheer waste of time to attempt an 
extended analysis, resolved that it would be sufficient in- 
dulgence to existing wickedness if he reproduced the said 
feature, Germano more, as Haweis puts it. There is not one 
Banks instrument in existence which can be described as a 
faithful Stainer copy. The lines of the model are treated with 
a degree of freedom and developed according to the copyist's 
own conception. These are the copies which have got poor 
Banks into disrepute with regard to the varnishing. The 
varnish has " killed the grain " of the front tables. " It has 
been allowed to clog the fibre" is the explanation given by 
some authorities, as though, forsooth, every oil varnish did not 
clog the fibre. All oil varnishes penetrate the wood, especially 
the pine of the belly. What is technically termed " killing 


the grain " is brought about by one of two things, viz. (a) 
by the action of one or more of the ingredients of the varnish 
upon the interfascicular cambium of the wood. The cellulose 
of the cell wall (C 6 H ]0 O 5 ) 3 is in the pine tree converted into 
lignin during the growth of the tree a substance which is 
stained dark yellow when treated with acids. The cell 
contents also react in a similar manner. Especially is this the 
case with wood that is not thoroughly desiccated, or cut at the 
right season ; (b) the grain is often " killed " by the application 
of colour varnish throughout, i.e. without a first coat of sizing 
or pale varnish. The sizing (oil) gives life to the wood, which 
bursts forth through the coloured varnish like the light in a 
cathedral window on a dark night. 

Banks often used wood in these Stainer copies which was 
not thoroughly seasoned, and he varnished them hurriedly to 
meet the demands of his patrons. I do not think the wood 
he used in many instances could have been cut for more 
than two years. There is evidence of shrinkage. I have 
gone over a few very carefully with the calipers, and the 
result justifies me in saying that it is impossible the maker 
should have worked them so thin. Here are the thicknesses 
of a violin now in the possession of H. Allen, Esq., ex-M.P. 
for Pembrokeshire an instrument which has never been in 
the hands of the repairer, and which is in perfect preservation : 
Back, -fa" at centre, gradually tapering to rather under ^ at 
edges ; belly, -fa tapering to T V at edges. 

The tone of the Stainer copies, especially of the violon- 
cellos which have sufficient timber in them, is much finer than 
is warranted by the appearance. 

(2) The Amati copies. On the construction of these magni- 
ficent instruments our maker concentrated the entire energy of 
his heart and mind. \Vood (except in a few instances), work- 
manship, and varnish are almost faultless. The only part of 
the work which gave him any trouble was the scroll, which 
frequently shows that his strong mind was reluctant to bend 
altogether to another man's idea. I am perfectly convinced that 
if Banks had asserted his latent individuality and struck out on 


(Fecit 1785) 

(Fecit 1785) 


new lines, we should have some gems of our classical school 
which would vie with the very best of Italian work. The 
varnish, I am aware, does not at any time reach heights which 
are encircled by the divine halo of Cremonese glory, but it is 
far up the mystic mount. As copies, the finest efforts of Banks 
are sufficiently correct to pass muster as originals, and in some 
cases at least they have done so. I will instance one. The 
widow of a deceased Welsh violinist and celebrated choirmaster 
asked me some years ago to value her deceased husband's 
collection a small one containing a Stradivari tenor, a Lupot, 
a Duke, and a " Nicola Amati " violin. The last-named in- 
strument was the pride of the collection, both on account of 
its intrinsic value and because it had been presented to the dis- 
tinguished man by the members of a choir which he had 
successfully led at various National Eisteddfodau. The instru- 
ment had been bought of a certain London firm for 180 (this 
was back in the early sixties), with the usual guarantee. I am 
absolutely certain the violin was not fashioned by the hands of 
old Nicola, and morally certain it first saw the light of day 
somewhere in the vicinity of Catherine Street, in Sarum. The 
scroll is Benjamin's, the varnish is his, everything is his, except 
the piece which has been cunningly let in under the bottom 
where the B.B. is usually stamped. The label is rather large, 
in the correct type, but too fresh and fatal oversight, under a 
strong electric ray it reveals with the help of a strong lens what 
I believe to be part of an English watermark. It is time this 
pseudo-Amati should have its false ticket extracted and Banks 
receive his due. The tone has a thrilling, silvery ring is clear, 
penetrating, and delicately sweet. The wood is fine, the back 
being cut on the quarter with a curl of medium and regular 
width, slanting at a rather acute angle in the direction of the 
button. Banks' tenors, and especially his violoncellos, are 
magnificent. The latter are of two sizes, and the larger ones 
are given the preference. The smaller violoncellos, however, 
are as excellent in quality of tone as the larger ones, and 
perhaps more so. But in these days loudness takes the preced- 
ence of every other abstract, and the tone that drives is placed 


before the tone that draws. One of the finest Banks violon- 
cellos for tone that I have ever seen was some years ago owned 
by a gentleman amateur in Tenby. It was of the smaller 
pattern, of rather plain wood, and varnished red. It was in 
perfect condition, and in chamber music it sang mellifluously 
like a velvet-throated baritone. I took dimensions of this 
instrument, which I append here : 

Length of body ..... 28| inches. 

Width across the upper bouts . .13 ,, 

,, ,, middle bouts . . 10^ ,, 

lower bouts . . .16 

Depth of ribs at bottom . . . . 4i 

top .... 4 | 

Width of C's 6 j 

Length of F's 6 

Distance between F's at upper turn 3| 

Length of stop ..... 26 

I obtained photographs of this fine instrument, which are 
reproduced here. 

Genuine Banks instruments are much rarer than would 
naturally be expected. I do not think that there are more than 
from fifty to sixty violins, eighty to ninety tenors, and about one 
hundred violoncellos of his in existence. The peruser of cata- 
logues of old instruments is led to believe that an inexhaustible 
supply exists. Perhaps the following extraordinary circumstance, 
recorded here as an obj ect-lesson, will help to undeceive him. In 
the year 1890, impelled by curiosity, I wrote to a large number 
of firms for their catalogues of old instruments. In about three 
months I had a pile of catalogues on my table from the leading 
houses in this country, and from those in France, German'y, 
Italy, America, and Australia, some eighty-two in number. To 
my utter amazement, I found that there were then two 
hundred and eighty-six Strads offered for sale at a sum total 
of 78,936, all made by the grand old man between the years 
1700 and 1720, and all as a matter of course guaranteed to be 
genuine ! Nearly three hundred Strads for sale in the same 
year, and almost within the same month of the year ! ! Ye 


gods ! Surely ye have added one more' wonder to the seven 
wonders of the world. The case is much the same as regards 
Banks. If catalogues, sale advertisements, &c., are to be relied 
on, then I compute that there have been sold in this country 
during the last fifty years over two thousand examples of his 

Banks stamped his instruments in all sorts of places, below 
the button, under the finger-board, under the tailpiece, &c., 
and he used various labels, such as : 

"Made by Benjamin Banks, Catherine Street, Salisbury, 
1770"; "Benjamin Banks, Musical Instrument Maker, In 
Catherine Street, Salisbury, 1780" ; "Benjamin Banks, fecit, 
Salisbury " ; " B. Banks, Sarum." 

Banks was buried in St. Thomas's Churchyard, Salisbury. 
His tombstone, which is near the south door, on the right- 
hand side, has the following inscription : 



died 14 Sep r 



i8' A Feb ry 1795 



BANKS, BENJAMIN, Salisbury, London, and Liverpool. 
He was the second son of the great Benjamin Banks, and was 
born on Sept. 13, 1754, at Salisbury. He died in Hawk 
Street, Liverpool, where he last worked, on Jan. 22, 1820. 
He worked with his father for about ten years, but in 1780 he 
moved to 30 Sherrard Street, Golden Square, London. He 


did not remain long there, probably because he failed to com- 
mand any attention. Very little of his work is known, and 
what there is does not entitle the maker to anything beyond 
a passing notice. 

BANKS, JAMES AND HENRY, Salisbury and London. 
They continued their father's business till 1811, when they 
sold up and went to Church Street, and later to Bold Street, 
Liverpool. Both were born in Salisbury; James about 1756, 
and Henry about 1770. The former died on June 15, 1831, 
and the latter on Oct. 16, 1830. Henry was a pianoforte 
tuner and repairer, and James a violin-maker. James was a 
very good workman, and ought to have done better than he 
did. He followed his father's model, and occasionally suc- 
ceeded in producing much the same varnish. The tone cannot 
for a moment be compared with that of the old man. There 
is a metallic harshness about it which offends the ear. I am 
not sure that he did not bake his wood in some cases. I cannot 
otherwise account for the inferiority of the tone. The brothers 
left a number of unfinished instruments in the cellar of their 
Liverpool house, which were sold as they were, mostly to the 
trade. Labels : 





One of their violoncellos, made by both jointly in 1797, 
was amongst the exhibits in the South Kensington Museum, 
1872. It was the property of Mr. C. J. Read, of Salisbury. 
It was said to be a well-finished instrument, with a moderately 
powerful tone of very good quality. Nothing that I have seen 
by any one of the sons could be said to possess a tone of any 
distinction. I have heard better many times in an ordinary 
trade fiddle. The father's mantle fell, not on the sons, but 
into the river, and was borne away by the flood. 


BARNES, ROBERT, London. He was a pupil of 
Thomas Smith at the "Harp and Hautboy," in Piccadilly. 
Afterwards he became a partner with John Norris, with 
whom also he was a fellow apprentice at Smith's. Norris 
and Barnes started business together in 1765. All the instru- 
ments which bear their label were probably made by others. 
Label : 



BARRETT, JOHN, London. Period about 1714-30. 
He copied Stainer, and very often exaggerated his arching. 
He also worked on a modified Stainer pattern, which was 
long, narrow, grooved, and highly arched. The workmanship 
is fair, but the tone is very small and muffled. As a rule, he 
used ink-lines instead of purfle. The varnish is yellow and 
hungry looking, and helps to give a cheap look to the instru- 
ment. Somebody reports having seen a violoncello of his make 
somewhere, which had a beautiful tone. It is possible that he 
did make good work, but it has not been the fortune of any of 
it to come down to our days. He was a contemporary of Barak 
Norman and Nathaniel Cross. Labels : 




LONDON, 1730 

BARTON, GEORGE, London. Period about 1780- 
1810. He worked in Elliot Court, Old Bailey. He made 
mostly for the trade, and little or nothing is known of his work. 

BELOE, W. L., Coldstream. He was born in 1819 and 
died in 1897. He followed the lines of Stradivari, but it cannot 


be said that he made one copy of the maestro. There is a sort 
of general resemblance to the Strad outline and arching, and 
that is all. The workmanship is fairly good, and the tone of 
mediocre quality. Label, handwritten : 




BERTRAM, ALEXANDER, Peeblesshire ; nineteenth 
century. He worked at Eddlestone. He made hundreds of 
instruments of a very inferior quality. 

BERTRAM, WILLIAM, Stobo Castle. He was game- 
keeper to Sir James Montgomery, and made violins as a 
hobby, selling them when he could to the visitors to the 
Castle. His work is said to be very good, but I have not 
seen any of it. 

BETTS, JOHN, London. He was born at Stamford, 
Lincolnshire, in 1755, and died in March 1823. He was 
universally known as " Old John Betts," and was well respected 
and patronised. He was a pupil of Richard Duke, and, in the 
few instruments made by himself, showed that he had imbibed 
much of Duke's lore. The workmanship and varnish have 
much the same characteristics the latter being, as a rule, of a 
tint which is a shade warmer than the varnish of Duke. He 
did not make many instruments himself, but employed excellent 
workmen, such as the Panormos, John Carter, Edward Betts, 
Bernhard Feudt, &c. The work is excellent, but poor instru- 
ments were occasionally sold by him, bearing his label. My 
great-grandfather ordered a violoncello of Betts in the year 
1780, to be made by Betts himself. This instrument is now 
in my possession, and in excellent condition, having been 
recently repaired by Mr. J. W. Owen of Leeds. It is of the 
Amati model, plain wood, golden-brown varnish, with rather 
wide sound- holes. The tone is moderately powerful, and very 


sweet and mellow. The workmanship is solid and sober, 
without being refined and artistic like the work of Betts' 
master. Betts was one of the first in this country to do 
extensive business in Italian instruments, and a large number 
of fine violins found their way into this country in his time. 
He used two or three different labels. The one inserted into 
the violoncello just referred to reads : 



JANUARY 9, 1782 

the last line being written. The words "Jo. Betts, No. 2 
North Piazza, Londini," are also written across the back on 
the inside, near the top, and an inscription, which is not 
decipherable, is written across the belly near the left sound- 

BETTS, EDWARD, London. He was the nephew of 
the above, and worked a great deal for him. Like his uncle, 
he was a pupil of Richard Duke, and produced work which has 
many of the characteristics of the master. The date of birth 
is unknown, but he died in 1817 six years before his uncle. 
His workmanship is excellent. Its only fault is that it lacks 
in individuality, and is over-mechanical in its general appear- 
ance. He adhered to the Amati model throughout, and copied 
it with an exactness which has not been surpassed in Britain. 
Had he been so successful in reproducing Amatfs tone as 
Banks and the other copyists had been, he would rank much 
higher in the estimation of posterity. But the tone is not 
bad ; it is round, sweet, and moderately powerful. It did not 
strike me as being sufficiently clear to carry far, and there was 
something rather viola-like about it. That might be due in 
part to long disuse. 

I have never seen a label of his. 

BEVERIDGE, WILLIAM, Aberdeen. He was born 
in 1821, and died in 1893. He made many violins, on no 


particular model, but which are quite artistic in appearance. 
The tone is never so good as the workmanship. Label : 


TOUCH, 1870 

BLACKBURN, J. H., Colne, contemporary. An 
amateur who has made a few instruments, but is mostly 
engaged in repairing. 

BLAIR, JOHN, Edinburgh: 1790-1820. He worked 
on the Stradivari model, and turned out excellent instruments 
as regards appearance, but not so excellent in tone. Mr. 
Honeyman is of opinion that he was the teacher of Matthew 
Hardie, and there is certainly a close resemblance between 
their work. Wood mostly good and handsome ; spirit varnish 
rather poor in quality. No label, but he usually wrote his 
name across the belly on the inside. 

BLAIR, WILLIAM, Crathie : 1793-1884. He made 
several instruments on various models. The workmanship is 
fairly good, but the tone is very indifferent. He baked his 
wood, and used a hard spirit varnish. He was a noted 
character, well-known in the North as " The Queen's 
Fiddler." The riddle of his own make upon which he 
played for many years at Balmoral is now in the possession 
of the author. I have given full biographical particulars in 
my sketch of this worthy in another volume. 

BLYTH, WILLIAMSON, Edinburgh: 1821-97. A 
most prolific maker of wretched nondescripts shaped like a 
violin, but without any of the usual qualities of that instru- 
ment. It is said that he could turn out fairly decent work 
when he had the inclination, but he very rarely got into that 

BOLLES, , London, early seventeenth century. A 

celebrated maker of lutes and viols, and the most celebrated, 
judging from a statement in Mace's " Musick's Monument," 


which conveys the information that the writer had seen a bass 
of his valued at 100. 

BONE, PHILIP J., Luton, contemporary. A maker of 
mandolines and violins. He made his first violin in 1886, and 
since then has finished several on the Stradivari and Guarneri 
models. Varnish : amber, in pale yellow colour. I have not 
seen any of his work, and cannot pronounce an opinion upon it. 

Facsimile label : 

& Co. 



,* LUTO 

BONN, J. EDWIN, Isle of Wight, contemporary. He 
was born on March 28, 1861, at Fermoy, Ireland. He was 
educated at the Ledbury Grammar School, and was intended 
for the medical profession, but he abandoned medicine and 
practised for some time as analytical and consulting chemist. 
Latterly he entered the violin trade, and is now established at 
Brading as dealer and maker. He works on the Stradivari 
model, and also on an original one. He has made personally 
forty-nine violins, and about a hundred have been made by his 
workmen. The workmanship is good, and the tone clear and 

The wood is excellent, especially the pine of the front 
table. The grain, as a rule, is close, straight, and well-defined. 

The varnish is Mr. Bonn's own composition. In 1897 he 
discovered a new and more simple method of dissolving amber, 
which gives great elasticity and a good range of colours. The 
method gives absolutely fast colours, and the varnish does not 
chip. Mr. Bonn does not care to divulge his secrets, but he 
states that he does not use in the process drying oil prepared 
with lead salts. Lead, he maintains, injures the colours. The 



varnish dries well within the compass of a season, and when 
dry it does not soften under the heat of the hand. It is, more- 
over, perfectly elastic and tough. The colours are yellow, 
red, golden orange, orange red, and orange brown. 

Mr. Bonn varnishes all his instruments in orange brown, 
unless any other colour is specified. 

The prices of his violins are : class A, ten guineas ; class 
B, twelve guineas ; and class C, ji6. 

Mr. Bonn has several chemical preparations for violin 
strings, pegs, for cleaning the violin, &c. He is the discoverer 
also of a chemical method of preparing strings, and it is due to 
him to say that his strings are very fine. Another invention 
of his is the four-footed bridge. He makes bows, which are 
of the regulation length, of full and medium weight respec- 
tively, and perfect as to balance and elasticity. The thick- 
nesses were mathematically regulated throughout, the cambre 
following the line of Dodd. These, with silver mounts, are 
priced at two guineas each. Facsimile label : 



BOOTH, WILLIAM, Leeds : 1779-1858. He began 
to make violins in 1809, and continued to make and repair 
till 1856. He followed the Amati model chiefly, but I have 
seen one violin of his make which was somewhat after the 
long Strad pattern. Fairly good work and tone. Label : 


LEEDS, 1820 

BOOTH, WILLIAM, Leeds : 1816-56. He was the 
son of the above, and an excellent workman. He died on 
June i, 1856, and was buried at Burmantofts Cemetery. 
I have seen only one of his instruments, which was on a 
modified Strad pattern, rather highly arched, golden brown 
varnish ; tone somewhat small but sweet. 


BOTHWELL, WILLIAM, Aberdeen, contemporary. 
He worked at violin-making from 1870 till 1885, and turned 
out many instruments on no particular model and of an 
indifferent quality. 

BOUCHER, , London : 1764. Nothing known of 


BOWLER, ARTHUR, London, contemporary. He 
works at 1 8 Milner Square, Islington, and was born July 12, 
1867, at Thame, Oxfordshire. He is a nephew on his mother's 
side to the late Georges Charrot. He worked with Mr. J. A. 
Chanot for some time, where he got on so well that he 
became principal workman to that firm. In 1899 he started 
business on his own account, and he turns out excellent instru- 
ments, on the Stradivari model. The. wood and varnish are 
beautiful, and the tone is firm, round, and clear. The work 
of this maker is bound to come to the front in the near future. 
Facsimile label : 

Jtrttaxr $0toLer 


BRECKINBRIDGE, JOHN, Glasgow: 1790 1840. 
An amateur maker who made several excellent violins on the 
Amati model. The wood is of splendid quality, nicely 
figured, and the varnish pale brown or yellow. The tone 
is round, clear, and sweet. Label, handwritten : 



BRIGGS, JOHN WILLIAM, Glasgow, contemporary. 
He works at 122 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, and was born 
at Wakefield on July 9, 1855. He received elementary 


education at the Friends 1 School, Rawdon. His father, who 
is a worthy old Quaker, gave the son a sound grounding in 
various subjects on commercial lines. Mr. Briggs has supple- 
mented his early training with wide and varied reading in 
after life. 

He is a pupil of the late William Tarr, of Manchester, 
the famous double-bass maker. 

Up to the end of January 1899 ne had made eighty- four 
violins, eleven violas, eleven 'cellos, and nine double-basses. 
All the work is personal, with the exception of the scrolls 
of the last ten instruments, which have been carved by his 
son Harry. 

He works on the Stradivari and Guarneri model, and also 
on an original one. The measurements of the original model 
are as follows : 

Length of body ..... 14^ inches. 

Width across upper bouts . . . . 6f 

middle bouts . . . 3/3- 

lower bouts . . . 8 

Length ofC's . ... . & 

sound-holes . . . 3:nr 

Depth of lower rib . . . . . I ^ 

upper rib I T 3 T 

Distance between sound-holes . . . i-^y 

The outline is bold and assertive, and the arching is 
moderately pronounced. The scroll, although original, is 
much in the manner of Joseph (Del Gesu). The button is 
well designed, but a trifle more circular than that of Strad's. 
The corners are full and piquant, and when viewed in con- 
junction with the widened waist, they give the instrument 
a breadth of conception. The sound-holes also are original ; 
they are beautifully cut with a firm hand, and are a sort of 
compromise between those of Strad and Joseph. 

The varnish is an oil one, of the maker's own com- 
position. Colour : golden amber with a rose flush. The tone 
is strong, bright, and bell-like. 

When Mr. Briggs works as a copyist, he may be said to be 



a member of the Vuillaume school, except in the matter of 
artificially seasoning the wood. His copies of some of the 
classical violins are, indeed, very fine and correct too correct, 
perhaps. It is questionable whether the time spent in copy- 
ing every little scratch and patch .be time profitably spent. 
A facsimile copy, like that of Mr. Briggs' Paganini-Joseph, 
requires immense skill and patience, and it also requires a 
length of time. To exercise the greatest skill and patience 
is commendable, but to consume over-much valuable time is 
against the interests of the art. The fiddle world cannot 
afford to allow a born artist to dally with scratches and 

Mr. Briggs had the largest exhibit of instruments at the 
Glasgow Exhibition, and in many respects the finest. The 
wood of the backs and ribs was exhibited as timber at the 
Paris Exhibition of 1880, and also at Vienna in 1890, where 
it was awarded a gold medal. The bellies were made from 
wood three hundred years old, taken from an old church in 
Warsaw, Poland. 

As an original worker, Mr. Briggs is remarkably free from 
conventionality, and allows his genius unlimited liberty. At 
one moment he worships at the shrine of old Antonio, and at 
the next he is an uncompromising iconoclast. Genius ever was 
a mystery. Facsimile label : 

BRISCOE, D., Channel Islands, contemporary. An 
amateur who has made many instruments, but of whose 
work I can say nothing, as I have never seen any of it. 

worked from 1872 till 1898, in which year, on Nov. 25, he 
died. The work is now carried on by the son. He made 
violins and bows, and repaired very extensively. The work 


of both father and son is said to be very good, but I have not 
seen any of it. The son works on the model of Guarnerius, 
with Stradivari sound-holes. Label, handwritten : 



BROWN, ALEXANDER, Glasgow: 1855-60. Stradi- 
vari model. Good work and tone. Label, handwritten : 

GLASGOW, 1855 

BROWN, ANTHONY, London and Australia: 1850-75. 
Pupil of John Morrison. He did not make many violins, 
but he was celebrated for his guitars, of which he made a large 
number both in this country and in Australia. He worked in 
Rosamond Street, Clerkenwell, and also in Adelaide. 

BROWN, JAMES, Spitalfields : 1755-1834. Started 
violin-making in 1804, under Thomas Kennedy. Ordinary 
work ; tone fairly good for orchestral purposes. 

BROWN, JAMES, Norton Folgate : 1786-1860. Son 
and pupil of the previous James Brown. He made very many 
bows, and also instruments after his father's death. The work 
has much the same characteristics as that of the father. 

BROWN, JAMES, London: 1813-34. Son and pupil 
of the preceding. Made only a few instruments. 

BROWNE, JOHN, London : 1730-45. He worked at 
the sign of the " Black Lion," in Cornhill. He copied Stainer 
and Amati, and turned out fairly good work as regards appear- 
ance, but the tone is hard and metallic. 

BUCKMAN, GEORGE HATTON, Dover, contempo- 
rary. He was born in Snargate Street, Dover, on Oct. 23, 1 845, 


and he works en amateur at Kearsney. He was educated at a 
private school in his native town, called the "Dover Collegium," 
which was then under the tutorship of one Herr Hawkerkamp. 
He has made very many instruments on the Stradivari and 
Guarneri models. Some of the Guarneri copies have been 
made after a fine Joseph which is in the possession of C. M. 
Gann, Esq., of Canterbury, and they are in every way excellent 
instruments. The Strad copies are of rather full dimensions, 
some being 14^ in. long. In the latter the greatest width 
across the upper bouts is 6| in., and that across the lower 
bouts 8f in. full. The height of the sides in a specimen I 
examined was \\ in., diminishing to i^- in., but in the majority 
it is maintained at i^ in. throughout. 

The C openings are 3 in. from corner to corner, and the 
sound-holes 2f in. from wing-angle to wing-angle. These 
latter, together with the scroll, form the crux of the imitator's 
art. They form also the two abutments of the asses' bridge 
in fiddle-making. Suffice it to say that Mr. Buckman has 
crossed this bridge in a chariot drawn by a strong contingent 
of the Naiadian nymphs. He stoops to imitate, but stoops to 
conquer at the same time. His is not the servile imitation 
so frequently observed even in high-class work of the modern 
French school. It is the imitation which produces the salient 
points and which also bears the impress of originality. In his 
sound-holes (I speak now of those in his Joseph copies), Buck- 
man has succeeded in creating through and in spite of imitation. 

The Gothic quaintness of the master is there, but it is 
gently toned down by the graceful sweep of the outer line. 
The same might be said of the scroll. Joseph's scrolls are 
sometimes described as being of the " bull-dog " type. Buck- 
man's copies have the " bull-dog " face also, but minus a great 
deal of the usual ferocity. 

Some years ago, a MS. of the Federal Constitution of the 
United States was so written that, when held at a distance, 
the shading of the letters and their arrangement showed the 
countenance of George Washington, but close at hand it looked 
like a copy of the fundamental law of the United States 


that is, the face of the Father of his country and the laws 
of the great Constitution were represented by one and the 
same thing. So in Mr. Buckman's work. View it broadly, 
and you see the sign-manual of the living artist ; view 
it closely, and you discover the dicta of the great classical 

Several of this maker's instruments are made with a slab 
back. In one of these the archings are rather flatter than usual, 
owing to the wedge from which the back was cut being some- 
what thin, but the "correct" cubic capacity is maintained, 
and the tone is both large and brilliant. In nearly all the 
instruments with a slab back, the curl of the maple runs at an 
angle of forty-five degrees to the longitudinal axis, giving a 
very pretty effect to the whole. 

Mr. Buckman has played the violin from his youth, but he 
now suffers from nerve-deafness, and loses during its recurring 
attacks all perception of melody. Facsimile label : 


CAHUSAC, . Nothing known of him except that 

he was associated with the sons of Benjamin Banks for some 
little time. 

CALOW, WILLIAM, Nottingham, contemporary. He 
was born on June 6, 1847, at Tansley, near Matlock, Derby- 
shire, and is the son of Thomas Calow, who was also an 
occasional violin-maker. He makes violins, violas, and double- 
basses on the Guarnerius model, and repairs extensively. He 
is assisted by his son Thomas, but the greater part of the work 
is personal. He uses oil and spirit varnishes. Colours : orange 


and nut-brown. His double-basses are well made, and possess 
a large and fine tone. Facsimile label : 

CANNON, JAMES, Dumfries : 1855. He was born at 
Plascow, Kirkcudbrightshire, and is still working as an amateur. 
He works on the Stradivari model and turns out nice instru- 
ments. I have seen only one, which was well made, and 
varnished with Whitelaw's amber varnish. The tone is of 
average merit. Label, handwritten in Gothic letters : 


CARR, JOHN, Falkirk, contemporary. He was born 
at Berwick-on-Tweed, May 14, 1839. He is a pupil of 
Robert Harvie and James Thompson. He has made about 
sixty violins and one violoncello, all of excellent workmanship 
and tone. He is established in Falkirk as a maker, musicseller, 
and teacher of the violin. Varnish : Whitelaw's red. Label: 


FALKIRK, 1898 

CARROLL, JAMES, & SON, Manchester, con temporary. 
He has worked at various places, but is now settled at 103 
Great Jackson Street, Hulme, Manchester, and is assisted by 
his son John, and one workman. He has made about five 


hundred instruments of various sizes, and on various models. 
I have seen only one violin bearing Carroll's own label, but I 
have seen several of his make bearing forged labels of second 
and third-rate Italian makers. Who inserted the forged labels 
into his instruments I cannot say. The violin which I saw 
was well made, having a brownish-red varnish of fairly good 
quality and appearance. The wood was good, and the tone 
round, firm, and free. Facsimile label : 

James Carroll, Maker, 

Manchester, Anno 

CARTER, JOHN, London : 1780-90. He worked 
mostly for John Betts, and only occasionally on his own 
account. He was an excellent maker, and helped considerably 
to swell the fame of Betts. I have seen one violin of his make, 
which was on the Amati model, having a beautiful tone. 
Varnish : golden brown, thinly laid on. Label : 




LONDON, 1785 

CARTWRIGHT, W. J., Yeadon, Leeds, contemporary. 
I have not seen any of his work, and cannot say whether he 
is an amateur or a professional maker. 

GARY, ALPHONSE, London, contemporary. I know 
nothing of him. 

CHALLONER, THOMAS, London; eighteenth cen- 

He works at Portland House, Portland Place, and was born at 
Totnes in 1862. He was apprenticed early in life to the cabinet- 
making trade, and made such rapid progress that, at the age of 
twenty, he became foreman of one of the largest cabinet shops 


in Devonport, where he had about thirty men and apprentices 
under him. At the age of twenty-five he commenced business 
on his own account, and he was appointed at the same time 
technical instructor for two classes in carpentry and carving in 
a local district. 

About 1887 he formed the acquaintance of the well-known 
connoisseur, the late Mr. Francis Codd, and a warm friendship 
sprung up between them. This resulted in a mutual desire to 
fashion a fiddle, so Codd imparted to Channon the lore of the 
art, and Channon initiated Codd into the mysteries of keen- 
edged tools. Good results were bound to follow genuine 
enthusiasm of this sort. Channon from a boy had a strong 
predilection for art and craft. In his early days he exhibited 
several specimens of fine art cabinet work, and he never failed 
to secure the highest award. 

He has made several violins and a few violas, but unfor- 
tunately his time is mostly taken up with repairs. His outline 
is almost identical with that of the Tuscan Strad, and his 
arching combines the lines of Strad and Joseph. The principal 
measurements are : 

Length 14^ inches. 

Width across upper bouts . . . 5^ 

middle bouts 4 | 

lower bouts . . . 8 

Length of sound-holes .... 3^ 

C'i ... r 31 

Depth of ribs at bottom . . . i 

top .... i^f 

The thickness of the back is -j^-, diminishing to , and the 
belly is an % all over. The ensemble shows breadth of intel- 
lectual view. The scroll is beautifully carved, and may be 
described as " correct and compact." Perhaps the boss of the 
volute is not brought out to the same piquant prominence as in 
the work of Stradivari. The corners are sweet and sober 
totally different from the average modern copy, which affects 
Amatisl protrusiveness, without possessing Amatist compensating 
curves. There was much solidity of feeling, and withal grace- 


fulness of expression in the quaint and quiet corners of old 
Maggini. When Stradivari waked Maggini's corners from 
their slumber, he did all that true art dare do. Many of his 
imitators have added two pairs of miniature wings to their pro- 
ductions, and their instruments look like flying odonatas. 

Herein lies the difference between the artist and the copyist. 
The artist takes hold of any crucial point and is able to modify 
without " mythifying " it. The mere copyist is the " myth- 
maker " a would-be reconciler of contradictories. 

Mr. Channon's sound-holes are beautiful conceptions and 
show the luthier-poet in every line. The margins are full and 
the edges strong. The latter are not so rounded as is usual 
in the best work of the modern British school, but they are, 
nevertheless, very pretty. The wood is of the orthodox kind, 
and of excellent quality. 

The tone is grand and grave, and has something of the 
inimitable tone of Maggini about it. Nothing can be more 
divine than the broad, dreamy, weeping, and withal sweet tones 
of the Brescian maestro. The notes drop off the strings like 
tears trickling down the beard of a weeping god. No virtue 
ought to be more commended in a modern maker than the 
passion for combining the sweetness of Amati with the plain- 
tiveness of Maggini. Facsimile label : 


CHRISTIE, JAMES, Dundee, contemporary. He 
was born December i, 1857, at Arbroath. He makes on 
the models of Stradivari and Guarneri, considerably modified 
according to his own conception. The workmanship and 
varnishing are excellent, and the tone is large and brilliant. 
The plates are left very thick, but carefully graduated. 


Christie's instruments will improve in quality with age and 

use. Label : 



The date is handwritten. 

CHRISTIE, JOHN, Kincardine-on-Forth. He died 
about 1859. He made a large number of instruments on the 
Amati and Stradivari lines. I have seen some two or three 
of them, and the wood, workmanship, and tone were excellent. 
The varnish was a spirit one, but was so thinly laid on that it 
did not do very material harm. If he had used oil varnish of a 
good quality, his violins would compare very favourably with 
the best work of the early nineteenth century. No label ; but 
one of the violins had the words "J. Christie, maker, 1850" 
written across the back. 

CLARK, JAMES, London : 1770-95. He was a pupil 
of Matthew Furber, and worked in Turmill Street, Clerken- 
well. Average work and tone. No label known. 

COLE, JAMES, Manchester ; nineteenth century. He 
was a pupil of William Tarr, and worked afterwards with 
George Craske. I have not seen any of his work, and cannot 
pronounce an opinion ; but old Tarr did not entertain a very 
high opinion of his abilities. He used a label in his early 
work, but later stamped " S. Cole " inside on the back. 

COLE, THOMAS, London : 1670-90. He made lutes 
and viols chiefly, and it is not certain that he made any 
violins. One or two tenors of his have been seen, the tone of 
which was reported to be large and telling. Various labels. 

COLLIER, SAMUEL, London : 1740-60. He worked 
at " Corelli's Head," London Bridge. I have seen one violin 
of his make, on the Stainer model, varnished dark yellow, with 
a small, husky tone. 


COLLIER, THOMAS, London; about 1775. 

COLLINGWOOD, JOSEPH, London : 1750-70. He 
worked at the "Golden Spectacles," London Bridge, and 
made many instruments on the Stainer, and a few on the 
Amati model. The workmanship is fairly good, and the tone 
of average merit. Label : 

LONDINI, 1758 

COLLINS, WILLIAM HENRY, London, contem- 
porary. He works at 21 Poland Street, W., and was born 
in the parish of Marylebone in 1860, being the second son 
of Daniel Joseph and Merina Collins. He was educated at 
the Portland British Schools, studied music from 1879 to 
1 88 1, and entered the Polytechnic Institute in 1882 as a 
student in painting and drawing. In 1885 he was awarded 
the Queen's prize and certificate in these subjects by the 
Kensington Science and Art Department. He was brought 
up to his father's calling that of surgical instrument maker, 
and became a skilled workman in pearl, ivory, tortoiseshell, 
silver, gold, and other materials. In 1890 he was possessed 
with the desire to make violins, and he devoured all the books 
that were obtainable on the subject of the construction of the 
king of instruments, and he also carefully examined and 
measured very many fine fiddles. In 1897 he was married to 
Jessie Emma, youngest daughter of George and Sarah Searles. 
In 1900, after an extended study of about ten years on the 
subject, he put into practice his theory of violin-making. 
Since then he has made seven instruments. 

He works on the Strad model, but the measurements are 
in a few instances slightly modified, as will be seen from the 
following figures : 

Length 14^ inches. 

Width across upper bouts . . . 6^ 

middle bouts . . . 4 
lower bouts 84 


Length of C'l 3^ inches. 

sound-holes .... 2y 

Depth of ribs at bottom . . . . i ,, 

top .... ij 

Distance between sound-holes at top . . if 

In one specimen examined by me the Strad outline was 
considerably modified in the inner bouts. The arching is 
flatter, especially in the front table. The scroll is excellently 
carved and in the spirit of the maestro, but the sound-holes are 
a sort of compromise between those of Anthony and Joseph 
(Del Gesu). The purfling is beautifully inlaid, but is rather 
too near the edge in some examples, where it is just a trifle 
under one-eighth. The edge is full and nicely rounded. On 
the whole, the workmanship is excellent and in splendid taste. 
The varnish is an oil one of Mr. Collins' own composition 
the result of numberless experiments. It has for basis fossil 
amber. It is very elastic and transparent, and it does not 
soften, chip, or crack. It is made in one colour, orange red, 
which is quite permanent. 

The wood is of the orthodox kind and very good in quality. 
The tone is powerful and penetrating. 

Mr. Collins has repaired a great number of instruments, 
hence the slow production of new ones. He has obtained 
two certificates of merit and three prize medals. He makes 
only violins, and his price is fifteen guineas. Facsimile label : 


COLVILLE, DAVID, Cupar : 1845-85. He made 
excellent instruments on the models of Amati and Stradivari. 
I saw and tried one of his Amati copies some years ago. The 
wood was beautifully figured, and the tone sweet and silvery. 
He was a born artist, and had he led a less chequered career 
he would have turned out still better work. He visited New 


Zealand, Canada, and Australia by turns, and never seemed to 
settle down in one place or at one thing long. No label, but 
written in pencil across back: 


COLVIN, GAVIN, Sundcrland, contemporary. He 
was born in Lerwick, Shetland, in 1841. About fifteen years 
ago he was fortunate enough to have a genuine Stradivari 
violin brought to him for repairs, and all his instruments from 
that time on are copies of this violin. Previous to that he had 
made many instruments on an original model, with a rather 
pronounced arching. The workmanship is good, and the 
tone is moderately powerful and of a good quality. He uses 
both spirit and oil varnishes. Label, handwritten : 



CONWAY, WILLIAM, London : 1745-50. 

COOPER, HUGH WILLIAM, Glasgow, contemporary. 
He was born Aug. 30, 1848, and is the son of William and 
Margaret Cooper. He manifested a great interest in the 
manufacture of musical instruments at an early age. At 
sixteen he made a small harmonium, and some years later he 
built a two manual pipe organ with pedals. 

His first violin was made seven years ago, and for the last 
five years he has been engaged professionally as a violin-maker. 

He has made, up to the present, fifty-four violins, on the 
models of the " Sainton," Strad, and Joseph (Del Gesu), from 
drawings published by Mr. William C. Honeyman. 

In some instruments the measurements of the " Sainton " 
copies are slightly modified, as will be seen from the following 
figures : 

Length of body 14^ inches. 

Width across upper bouts .... 6 
middle bouts 4 || 


Width across lower bouts . . . . 8 inches 

Length of C's 3^ 

Length of sound-holes ..... 3^- 

Distance between sound-holes at top . . i^ 

Depth of ribs at bottom . . . . i 

top I T \ n 

Mr. Cooper uses excellent wood, which is well-seasoned. He 
cuts his back on the various methods, according to the nature 
of the wood. He has a decided preference for close-grained 
pine. In some instances the " reed " is of uniform distribution, 
and about one thirty-second in width. 

The workmanship is excellent. The scroll is thrown 
with a firm, florid hand. In matter of detail, it is strictly 
conventional, except that the first turn starts from a point 
opposite the apex of the volute and leaves the boss very 
suddenly. In effect, the scroll is novel and picturesque. 

The button is feminine perhaps a trifle too much so, 
because everything else about the Cooper fiddle is of a 
masculine conception. It forms exactly three-fourths of a 
circle, and is rather under medium size. The sound-holes are 
original in outline and position. Near the upper turns they 
are perceptibly drawn towards the inner bouts. This gives 
the portion of the table between them a sense of solidity and 
boldness. They are set nearer the edge than was customary 
with Strad. Their position is a sort of a compromise between 
the Strad and the Bergonzi sound-holes. 

The purfling is evidence of Mr. Cooper's thorough mastery 
of the tools of the craft. And here, in the fine finish of matters 
of detail, one is reminded that the maker is a trained jeweller 
and watchmaker, as well as a violin-maker. 

The margin is one-eighth wide, and the edges nicely 
rounded. The latter are not so substantial as is usually the 
case in modern British work. A strong, rounded edge is the 
sign-manual of the modern British school, and when one 
occasionally comes across another method, the result is all the 
more noticeable. The varnish is Whitelaw's light, and dark 




brown, well laid on, and beautifully polished. The tone is 
firm, bright, and penetrating. Facsimile label : 




CORSBY, GEORGE, London; eighteenth century. 
Principally a dealer, but made a few instruments on the 
Amati model of average merit. 

CORSBY, , Northampton : 1780. Double-basses. 

CRAIG, JOHN, Edinburgh, contemporary. He was 
born Nov. 17, 1860, at Myreside, Kirkinch, Forfarshire. 
He was apprenticed at an early age to the wheelwright trade. 
In 1890 he came to Edinburgh, where he works as a joiner. 
Although only an amateur violin-maker, his work is excellent. 
Wood, workmanship, and tone give him a place in the front 
rank of modern Scottish makers. His model is original, 
approximating to that of Stradivari. The scroll is beautifully 
carved, and the plates are thick in wood. Varnish : White- 
law's " Amati " colour, laid on in thin coats and perfectly 
polished. It is a pity Craig does not turn out more instru- 
ments, as they are certainly of sufficient merit to justify his 
doing so. Facsimile label : 




A.D /6.0 

CRAMOND, CHARLES, Aberdeen: 1800-33. A 
prolific maker, much of whose work is of considerable merit. 


He worked on an original model, with plates rather highly 
arched. The wood is usually of good quality, though some- 
times poor and plain in figure. The varnish is a spirit one, 
hard and dry, but thinly laid on. Colour : dark yellow to dark 
brown. The tone is not over strong, but it is clear, sweet, and 
penetrating. He left many of his instruments too thin in wood, 
and these have not improved with age and use. Label : 



CRASKE, GEORGE, Bath, Birmingham, Stockport, 
and elsewhere; about 1791-1889. Craske, although his 
father was a foreigner, was of English extraction, so he once 
told my grandfather, who was a fiddle enthusiast. He said 
that an ancestor of his named Cross had settled in Russia, and 
afterwards in Germany, and the present form of the name was 
due to these migrations. Mr. George Crompton, who was 
intimately acquainted with this wonderful man, does not say 
anything about the matter in his sketch of him in the June 
number of The Strad, 1893. However, on the strength of 
this statement, I venture to include him here as a British 
maker of British blood. He was not an Anglo-German or 
French, but a thorough Britisher in character and sentiment. 
And so is his work. Out of the three thousand odd instru- 
ments that he is said to have made, I have seen only about a 
dozen that is to say, only about a dozen that I knew to be 
his work. But very many of his instruments have a forged 
label in them, and as he made very fair imitations of Joseph 
Guarnerius and other Italians, his work is not always recog- 
nised. I cannot say that there is anything about Craske's 
work to excite ecstatic utterance. However clever the work- 
manship may be and in much of his work we may concede 
that it is clever the tone will never give him a seat amongst 
the mighty : it is too hard and metallic. I have carefully 
tried the specimens which from time to time have been 
brought to my notice, and I must honestly say that I have 


always been disappointed with the tone. It is a large, round, 
and piercing tone, but it lacks unction. It is stronger than 
the tone of any of our classical makers, but will not for a 
moment bear comparison as regards mellowness and sweetness. 
Craske's instruments are splendidly adapted for orchestral 
purposes, but as solo instruments they are never likely to be 
in great demand. In some catalogues of old instruments 
issued recently I find that there are specimens of his work 
offered at 30. This sum is more than double the intrinsic 
value of anything I have seen by him. The workmanship, 
however, is honest and solid, and we must give Craske his 
due that he never attempted to sell his clever imitations as 

Craske was a pupil of " old Forster," and he made many 
instruments for dementi and for Dodd, the bow-maker. 
Besides copying Guarnerius, he made several copies of Amati 
and Stradivari, from templets and measurements taken from a 
Strad and an Amati in the possession of Sir Patrick Blake, of 
Langlam Hall, Suffolk. Whilst in Birmingham, he is reported 
to have been once engaged by Paganini to do some repairs to 
his violin, which had met with an accident. 

Craske lived in Salford, amongst other places, where he 
worked for about twenty years, leading the life of a recluse, 
allowing no one to enter his workshop except Mr. George 
Crompton, his friend and successor in business. He lived a 
retired life for some years before he died, at Bath, in affluent 
circumstances. He died in November 1889, at the advanced 
age of ninety-eight. He was a man of striking appearance 
and personality. " His head was exactly the same shape and 
measure as Shakespeare's, and his memory one of the most 
remarkable that ever was known " ; such are the concluding 
words of Mr. Crompton's biographical sketch. 

CROSS, NATHANIEL, London : 1700-51. Some sup- 
pose that he was a pupil of Stainer, but this is a mere 
conjecture. His instruments, although made on the Stainer 
model, are a sufficient proof that he had never received a 


day's training in the great workshop at Absam. From 1700 
to 1720, when he entered into partnership with Barak Norman, 
they are rather plain and tasteless, large and highly arched, 
with short, blunt corners in fact, his work is in dangerous 
proximity to the Stainer caricature. From 1720 on the work 
improves and approaches more nearly to the lines of the 
German model. This is contrary to the rule. If he had 
been a pupil of Stainer, we should naturally have expected to 
see the more correct copies dating from the early years of his 
career, and work showing departures or originality dating later. 
He never got rid of the exaggerated fluting round the edge, 
and the tone is consequently rather small and feeble. His 
fine cutting of the scroll shows what he was capable of if 
he had had a better ideal. The varnish is soft, and of a light 
brown to light yellow hue. He marked his instruments on 
the back inside with his initials, with a *%* above. After he 
entered into partnership with Norman the label runs : 




CROWTHER, JOHN, London: 1750-1810. He 
worked in Haughton Street, Clare Market, and occasionally 
for John Kennedy. He followed the Stainer and Amati 
models. The workmanship is of average merit, but the tone 
is fairly good. Varnish : dark amber, which is now turned 
almost black. Label : 


GUMMING, ANDREW, Portpatrick, contemporary. 
Fifth-rate work. 

CUTHBERT, , London : seventeenth century. A 

maker of viols and violins. I do not know his work. 


DALGARNO, THOMAS, Aberdeen : 1860-70. Work- 
manship of good average merit, and the tone fairly good. The 
instruments are left rather thin in wood, and the tone will not 
therefore continue to improve. Label, handwritten : 


DAVIDSON, HAY, Huntly : 1860-75. Rather poor 
work, with a loud, harsh tone. 

DAVIDSON, PETER, Forres : 1834-86. He was born 
at Speyside, and he lives now at Londsville, White County, 
Georgia, U.S.A. He was only an amateur maker, but made 
very fair instruments. He published " The Violin : Its Con- 
struction Theoretically and Practically Treated," a very 
interesting but wholly unreliable work. Davidson was an 
excise officer, and a bookworm. 

DAVIDSON, WILLIAM, Edinburgh, contemporary. 
He was born at Muckhart, Perthshire, in 1827. He follows 
the model of Stradivari, and his work is of good average merit. 
He received a second-class diploma at the Glasgow East End 
Exhibition, 1890, for a case of violins. 

Label, handwritten : 


DAVIS, RICHARD, London : 1775-1836. He was 
for some time in the employ of Norris & Barnes, and in 1816, 
at the death of Norris, he succeeded to the business. He did 
not make many instruments himself, but employed others to 
work for him. He carried on a very considerable trade in old 
instruments. The few violins he made are not on any par- 
ticular model they perhaps resemble the Stradivari model 


more than anything else are indifferently made, and have a 
piercing, Stainer-like tone. Varnish : spirit, of a dark brown 
colour. He retired towards the end of his life, and left the 
business to William Davis. He died in Bussage in 1836, and 
was buried in the Bisley churchyard. 

DAVIS, WILLIAM, London : about 1790-1850. Cousin 
and successor to the preceding Richard Davis. Did not make 
many instruments. I have not seen any of his work. He 
employed Charles Maucotel and others to work for him. He 
sold the business in 1846 to Edward Withers, and retired to 

DAY, JOHN, London : eighteenth century. He copied 
the Italian instruments closely, and succeeded in producing a 
good tone. 

DEARLOVE, MARK, Leeds: 1810-20. He made 
one or two nice copies of a Stradivari violin, but the tone was 

FRYER, Leeds : 1828-65. Dearlove employed others to 
work for him, such as Gough, Absam, Fryer, &c. The last 
named he eventually took into partnership with him, and the 
instruments which bear their joint-label are fairly well made, 
on various models, but mostly on the Strad, with a round, 
stinging tone. One instrument of theirs which I tried some 
years ago had a clear and penetrating tone, with much of the 
characteristics of the Stainer tone about it. Label : 


DELANY, JOHN, Dublin : 1795-1810. Followed the 
Amati model, and was very successful in producing a good 
tone. I saw one of his violins many years ago in Waterford, 
which was well made, rather small, and had a clear and sweet 


tone. The back was cut on the slab of plain wood, and 
unpurfled. The sound-holes were rather short and wide, and 
the corners a little blunt. The varnish, which was originally 
dark yellow no doubt, had turned nearly black. He used two 
labels : 





DUBLIN, 1808. 

DENNIS, JESSE, London: 1795-1860. Pupil of John 
Crowther, and for some time workman to Matthew Furber. 
I do not know his work, and have never seen it described. 

DEVEREUX, JOHN, Melbourne. Before he emigrated 
he worked for some time with B. Simon Fendt. 

DEVONEY, FRANK, Blackpool and Canada, contem- 
porary. He is an ingenious man, and was originally a tailor. 
He makes on an original model. The only instrument of his 
make which I have seen was not finely made, but it was 
strongly built, and had a rough sort of character. It was 
covered with a reddish amber oil varnish of his own make. 
The tone was large, but rather shrill. He was born about 
forty-eight years ago, and is a native of Perth, Scotland. 
He has lost one limb, but he wears another of his own 

DEWARS, WILLIAM, Brechin, contemporary. He 
was born at Brechin, September 10, 1878. He is a young 
maker of great promise, and already makes good instruments 
on the Guarneri and Stradivari models. He uses good wood, 
of a pretty figure, and varnishes with Hardie's or Whitelaw's 


varnish. The tone is large and responsive. Facsimile 
label : 



l, 190& 

DICKENSON, EDWARD, London: 1750-90. He 
worked at the " Harp and Crown " in the Strand. Inferior 
work on the Stainer model. 

DICKESON, JOHN, London and Cambridge : 1750-80. 
An instrument of his make on the Amati model was owned 
by a Mr. Jenner, in Bath, a few years ago. It had very 
pretty wood, light brown varnish, and a sweet, silvery tone. 
It was rather weak on the fourth string, but clear and re- 
sponsive on the two upper strings. Label : 


DICKIE, MATTHEW, Rotherham, contemporary. 
He has made many instruments, some of which are of good 
workmanship and tone. His varnish is rather soft and inclined 
to " cake " and crack. 

DICKSON, JOHN, London : 1 725-60 (?). Probably the 
same as the John Dickeson noticed above. 

DICKSON, GEORGE, Edinburgh, contemporary. A 
doctor, and a clever amateur, who is also the discoverer of 
" Dickson's varnish." 


DITTON, , London : about 1 700. Mention is 

made of a violin by him in the list of Tom Britton's collection 
of musical instruments. 

DODD, EDWARD, Sheffield and London : 1705-1810. 
He died in London at the extreme old age of 105. He lived 
in Salisbury Court, Fleet Street, and was buried in St. Bride's 
Churchyard. He made much improvement upon the form of 
bow in use in this country before his time. 

DODD, JOHN, London : 1752-1839. He was born in 
Stirling, died in Richmond workhouse, and was buried at 
Kew. He is styled " The English Tourte," and much of his 
work justifies the title. Had he lived a more virtuous life, 
he probably would have turned out work of uniform excellence. 
Many of his bows were evidently made in haste, and sold for 
a few shillings, to meet the exigencies of an empty cupboard 
and a parching thirst. His intemperate habit was the cause 
of many troubles to himself, and to others who interested 
themselves on his behalf, and he came nigh the last stage of 
starvation many a time. Had it not been for the kindly 
offices of Dr. Sell and Mr. Richard Platt, of Richmond, he 
would have ended his days on the roadside ; as it was, he 
ended them in the workhouse. 

He was the pupil of his father, the Edward Dodd previously 
noticed, and he improved so much upon the work of his father, 
and upon everything else in the whole of the violin world 
(excepting the work of his greater contemporary, Francois 
Tourte), that his bows have maintained an undiminished 
celebrity down to our own days. His method of cutting his 
bows was primitive, and it has not been adopted by any great 
maker since his time. He cut the bow in the curved form 
out of the block, and dispensed with the ordinary plan of 
cutting it straight and bending by heat. I have seen a large 
number of Dodd bows, and I am convinced from a close 
examination of them that they have all been cut in this 
manner. One of the finest specimens which I have seen is now 
in the possession of the Rev. J. Rhys Jones, Priest-in-charge, 


Maesteg, Glamorganshire. It is a fine stick, with a graceful 
cambre and good balance. Its length is exactly 28^ in., and 
the length of the hair 25^ in. It is of medium weight, and 
very dark in colour. The face of the heel is decorated with 
mother-of-pearl, and the ferrules are of thick silver. Dodd^s 
name was stamped on all sorts of wretched nondescripts in the 
middle of last century, and his fame suffered considerably in 
consequence. But his work has suffered more than his fame, 
for there are hundreds of mongrel " Dodds " about, some with 
genuine heels, others with genuine heads, and not a few 
patched up in divers manners. The owner of a genuine 
Dodd, of regulation length, or anything near it, and made in 
his best style, has a treasure that he can well be proud of. 

DODD, THOMAS, London : 1786-1823. He was the 
son of Edward Dodd of Sheffield, previously noticed. He did 
not make many instruments himself, but he employed very 
clever workmen to do so for him. He was first of all a bow- 
maker in Blue Bell Alley, Mint Street, Southwark, and in 
1798 he became a violin-maker and dealer, opening a shop in 
New Street, Covent Garden, and moving in 1809 to St. Mar- 
tin's Lane, Charing Cross. Later on he added another sail to 
his craft, and became a harp and pianoforte maker. The 
instruments which bear his label are mostly the work of John 
Lott and Bernard Fendt, two excellent workmen. Dodd's 
genius, however, brooded over them whilst fashioning these 
magnificent instruments, like a mighty spirit brooding over 
the formless void. He was an enthusiastic connoisseur, with 
a heart and mind steeped in Italian lore, and he brought his 
knowledge to bear upon the work at every turn. It is im- 
possible to say how much of the work beyond the varnishing 
was his own probably no more than the determining of the 
thicknesses. With two such clever men to carry out his 
instructions, there was no occasion for him to handle the 
gouge and chisel. When the instruments were ready " in the 
white," Dodd overhauled them carefully and then varnished 
them with his own hands. His varnish is excellent quite 
equal to that of Benjamin Banks and he applied it most 


skilfully. It ranges in colour from golden amber to deep 
golden red, and it is rich and transparent. He regarded it as 
a secret, and was very careful to let no one see him mix or 
apply it. The ingredients, however, were only the well- 
known principal gums of the day, mixed in better proportions 
and more correctly than was customary then. Indeed, most 
of the varnishes of the early part of last century were hard, 
inelastic spirit varnishes, and Dodd's oil mixture showed to 
great advantage by contrast with them. Instruments bearing 
Dodd's label are of various models : Stradivari, Guarneri, 
Amati, Stainer, &c., and are of uniform excellence as regards 
workmanship and tone. I tried one of them quite recently, 
which was on the grand Strad pattern, with a beautiful scroll, 
but with sound-holes which were a sort of compromise between 
those of Strad and Joseph. The back was cut on the slab, 
and the maple had a broad " flame," which seemed to curl and 
burn up the varnish with every movement, as if fanned by a 
breeze inside the instrument. The tone was not so large as 
one would naturally expect from the dimensions of the violin, 
but it was firm, free, and mellow. 

Dodd has been severely criticised by some writers respecting 
his rather exuberant confidence in his varnish. But what 
maker is there that has not overweening confidence in his 
own varnish ? I have not yet come across one maker, be he 
a first- or fifth-rate, who does not think his varnish the best. 
Dodd had the courage of his convictions, and that is about 
all that he is guilty of. Hart says that Dodd gained such 
reputation in his lifetime that he was able to command from 
40 to 50 for a violoncello. This is remarkable, and the 
more so when we consider that they do not fetch much more 
in our own times. Dodd 'cellos have been knocked down at 
public auction for 32, .34 ios., and 35 as recently as 
1897. His violins, when in fine condition, realise pro- 
portionately high prices. Labels : 

(i) T, DODD, 





Perfect copies of Stradivari, Amati, Stainer, &c. 

Note. The only possessor of the recipe for preparing the 

original Cremona oil varnish. 

DODD, EDWARD & THOMAS, London: 1830-43. 
Pupils of Bernhard Fendt. Thomas died early, and Edward 
was accidentally drowned, April 29, 1843. Had Thomas 
Dodd lived he would in all probability have become an 
excellent maker. 

DORANT, WILLIAM, London : 1800-20. He worked 
at 63 Winfield Street, Brick Lane, Spitalfields. Average 
work and tone. 

DUFF, WILLIAM, Dunkeld : 1810-82. A game- 
keeper on the Athole estate, and an amateur maker. In- 
different work, poor varnish, but fair tone. Label : 



DUNKELD, 1866 

DUKE, RICHARD, London : 1750-80. Unfortunately 
there are no biographical particulars of this great man, and 
no evidence as to his character and personality other than 
that furnished by his remains. He worked on the Stainer 
and Amati models. Miss Stainer, in her " Dictionary of 
Violin-Makers," says that he also made copies of Stradivari, 
but I have never seen any of these copies, nor heard of 
undoubtedly genuine ones. Counterfeit Strad modelled 
Dukes there are, I have not the least doubt, as there are 
counterfeit "nobody" Dukes by the hundred. It has been 
said that " imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," if so, 
Duke is the most sincerely flattered maker of the British 
classical school. His fame was greater in the eighteenth century 
than was that of even Banks. The reason for this is not far 
to seek ; he made the best copies of Stainer that were ever 


produced in this country, and as Stainer was the ruling idol, 
the instruments which most truly approached his lines would 
naturally have the pre-eminence. In this way Duke got his 
laurels. And once a name is made it requires but the exer- 
cise of a little discretion to keep it up. The Duke cult was 
in its heyday when Banks and Forster were turning out 
their best Amati copies. Richard's bias was towards the 
German model, and he did not copy the Italian model as 
often nor as felicitously as he might have done. The sound- 
holes are faithful to the original in the Stainer copies, and 
they are strongly reminiscent of the same prototype in the 
Amati copies. Not that he put inferior work into the latter, 
as Banks was doing when copying Stainer ; on the other 
hand, his workmanship is always fine, whether copying Amati 
or Stainer ; but he drank more deeply of the German spirit 
than he did of the Italian. In the opinion of connoisseurs of 
to-day the Amati copies may be the more valuable, but there 
is not the slightest doubt that Duke and his patrons did not 
share the same view. His patrons were mostly rich people' and 
county families. I am familiar with seventeen Duke violins and 
tenors which are now in the possession of English and Welsh 
county families, and have at different times examined and 
tried several of them. The pedigree of the majority of these 
can be traced back to the time of purchase. One of the most 
noted of them is the " Cresselly Duke," a beautiful violin on 
the Stainer model. It was the property of the late S. P. 
Allen, Esq., of Cresselly, who came into the possession of it 
through his wife, the daughter of the fourth Earl of Ports- 
mouth. The fiddle had been in the Portsmouth family since 
the days of the second Earl, who purchased it himself of Duke 
in the year 1768. Mr. Fleming expresses the belief that 
genuine Duke instruments are extremely rare. I am strongly 
of the opinion that there are more genuine "Dukes" in 
existence than there are "Banks" and "Forsters" put to- 
gether, but they are not to be found in dealers' shops. They 
are fossilizing in dust heaps in the garrets of county mansions. 
There were hundreds of fine amateur players amongst the 

r ho to. A. o~ G. Taylo 

(Fecit 1768) 


gentlefolk of those days, when the facilities for attending 
music-halls, opera-houses, &c., were so few and far between. 
The finest specimens of Duke are not a whit inferior to those 
of Banks, except as regards model and varnish, and in one 
particular, at least, they are even superior, viz. in the carving 
of the scroll, but this remark applies only to the very finest of 
them. Duke was a busy man, and he did not always have 
the time at his command to do his best. Banks and Forster 
worked more at leisure, and the former of the two was help- 
ing to create the taste for better things, which always has a 
modifying effect upon the relation between supply and demand. 
I do not understand how it has come to be said that Duke's 
Stainer copies are not quite so good as his Amati copies. 
I submit that they are as good per se, and better as copies. 
Duke was too thoroughly imbued with Stainer ideas to admit 
of his making instruments in the true Italian spirit. There 
is no perceptible difference in the tone, be the work Italian 
or German in character. It is a round, ringing, ravishing 
tone in either case. It has not the remotest affinity with 
the tone of Stainer, nor is it like the tone of Banks, which 
is more subdued, mellow, and sweet. The tone of Duke as 
compared with that of Banks is brighter and has more vibrato 
in it. Tone nuances are very hard to analyse in words, but 
easily differentiated by the cultivated ear. 

Duke's varnish is elastic, soft, and transparent, but it 
lacks unction. There is an air of aristocratic refinement 
about it which is quite unmistakable, but we long for one 
sweet blush of the emotions. If I were asked to give an 
imaginary pen picture of Duke, I should describe him as a 
well-built man, broad-browed, keen-eyed, dignified and re- 
served in bearing, with a very correct but cold taste in 
matters artistic. That is the sort of man I see in my mind's 
eye hard at work beside the bench shaping those chaste, sober, 
broad-chested tenors. Fine specimens of Duke rarely come 
into the market ; when they do, they fetch a fair price. One 
of the finest violins which I have seen of his make was sold 
by the Messrs. Hart in the year 1898 for 35. It had choice 


wood, light mellow-brown varnish, and a beautiful tone. 
The instrument was in perfect preservation, and, as prices go, 
worth double the money. Photographs of this violin are 
reproduced here. As far as is known Duke had only three 
pupils, his son Richard, John Betts, and Edward Betts. His 
violoncellos were never in such demand as his violins and 
tenors, and they are seldom to be seen nowadays. He often 
branded his instruments under the button " Duke, London." 
Labels : 




ANNO 1768 

Both of these were usually written in ink. His printed 
label ran : 




DUKE, RICHARD, London : about 1770-85. Son and 
pupil of the preceding. The few instruments of his make 
which remain show that he was inferior to his father as a 
workman. He branded his violins similarly to his father, and 
usually left them unlabelled. 

DUNCAN, , Aberdeen : about 1762. 

DUNCAN, GEORGE, Glasgow: 1855-92. He was 
born Jan. 17, 1855, and emigrated to America in 1892. His 
instruments from about 1883 on are magnificent. They 
are on the model of Stradivari and Guarneri, varnished with a 
beautiful oil varnish usually of a golden orange red tint. The 
wood in some specimens is of a broad figure in the back, and 
of a medium grain in the front table. The tone is large, rich, 
and free. He was a .yarded the gold medal for an exhibit of 


two violins at the London Exhibition of Inventions and Music 
in 1885. These two violins were of a beautiful appearance, 
though I did not have the pleasure to try their tone. Duncan 
is a born artist, and his work will improve with age and 
become valuable. It is to be hoped that his talents will be 
appreciated on the other side of the Atlantic to the extent 
they deserve. Label : 

NO. 37 

GLASGOW, 1884 

DYKES, GEORGE LANGDON, Leeds, contem- 
porary. He is the son of Mr. Harry Dykes, the well-known 
violin expert and dealer. He was born on October II, 
1884, and is probably, as will be seen from the date, the 
youngest fiddle-maker in Britain. He has received a good 
education, and can speak French and German fluently. He 
commenced violin-making when he was twelve and a half 
years of age, and he has finished up to date seventeen violins. 
AH the work is personal ; purfling, sound-holes, scroll and all. 
He is the pupil of his father and of Mons. Paul Bailly. His 
work is full of promise, and more will be heard of him, no 
doubt, in years to come. Facsimile label : 







EGLINGTON, : about 1800. 

EVANS, RICHARD, Anglesey and London : 1730-50. 
I have seen two violins supposed to be by him, in North Wales. 



I have never seen the instrument by him which is reputed to 
have the following label in it : 




For "Anirhengel" Hart reads " Lanirhengel." I do not 
think either of the two readings is correct. Probably the true 
reading would be " Llanfihangel." Richard Evans was no 
doubt illiterate, but we will give him credit for a smattering 
of his native tongue. English people will mangle Welsh place 
names, and create difficulties where none exist. "Aber- 
gwynfi," the romantic little Welsh village where the author 
lives, is plain and musical enough, but I have often been 
puzzled to know where I really live when I receive letters 
from my monoglot Saxon friends with the name spelt in one of 
the following barbarous ways : " Abergoynfi," " Abergynfi," 
" Abergwnfi," Abergwynff," &c. 

EWAN, DAVID, Cowdenbeath, contemporary. He was 
born March 4, 1838, at Stoneyhill, near Musselburgh. His 
work is of good average merit. Stradivari model, and oil 
varnish of his own composition. The plates are left thick in 
wood, and the tone is firm and strong without being very 
refined. Hard playing will no doubt rub off much of the 
harshness. Facsimile label : 


FENWICK, , Leith. A tenor by this maker was sold 

at a sale held by Messrs. Patrick & Simpson on May 22, 1901, 
for 4, i os. It was said to have a nice tone. 

FERGUSON, DONALD, Huntly, Aberdeenshire. 

FERGUSSON, WILLIAM, Edinburgh : 1790-1820. 
Very good work and tone. I have not seen any of it, and do 
not know whether he used a label. 

FERRIER, WILLIAM, Dundee, contemporary. Very 
good work, but plates in some of his instruments are left too 
thin, and the tone must consequently deteriorate with age. 
Label : 


NO- 19- 

FINDLAY, JAMES, Padanaram : 1815-96. He was 
born at a farm near Brechin, in Forfarshire. He made about 
five hundred instruments, mostly violins on the Guarneri 
model. I have seen only three of his violins, which were on 
the Stradivari model, one being well-made, of good wood, with 
a large tone. He made several copies of a very old violin 
in the possession of Mr. J. Michie, Brechin, and these are 
said to be his best, both in workmanship and tone. The said 
old fiddle is on an original model, something between the 
models of Strad and Joseph, and has a sweet and mellow tone. 
It is nearly black through oxidation, and is very correctly 
christened " Black Meg," as it is a fiddle with a character, and 
deserves a name. It was down here for inspection some two 
years ago, and both its nationality and parentage are still a 
puzzle to me. There is a characteristic quaintness about the 
work of Findlay, as may be inferred from the fact that he 
copied an unconventional instrument of the type of the old 
fiddle just named. His wood is mostly plain, and the varnish 


usually a spirit one. He had two or three labels ; the one in 
the instruments examined by me ran : 




This was handwritten ; others are printed. 

FINGLAND, S., , contemporary. I know nothing 

of him. 

FIRTH, G., Leeds : 1830-40. I have not seen his 

FLEMING, J., , contemporary. 

FORD, JACOB, London: 1780-95. He worked on a 
model which very closely resembles that of Stainer. He evi- 
dently had Stainer in his mind, but he had also seen and 
handled so many Amati copies, or perhaps a few original 
" Amatis," that he had become unsettled in his ideals. The 
workmanship is excellent, and the wood very carefully chosen. 
The varnish is an oil one, in light or deep amber colour. His 
margins are wider than is usual in Stainer copies, and the edges 
are nicely rounded and solid looking. The tone is not a large 
one, but is almost equal, in one or two instances which have 
come under my observation, to that of Duke. Altogether 
Ford was a superior maker, and the few examples of his art 
which remain to-day should be more highly valued than they 
are. Label : 


LONDON, 1792 

FORSTER, JOHN, Brampton : 1688-1781. The first 
of this celebrated family to make fiddles. He made only an 
occasional instrument, on the Stainer model, and the work 
is rough and unfinished. 


FORSTER, SIMON ANDREW, London: 1801-1870. 
He was the son of William Forster (1764-1824), born May 13, 
1801, died Feb. 2, 1870. He worked at Frith Street, and 
also at Macclesfield Street, Soho. He is more famous as the 
collaborator with William Sandys of "The History of the 
Violin" (London, 1864), than as a violin-maker. All his 
work that I have seen reflects little or no credit upon him. 
He was a pupil of his father, of his brother, and of Samuel 
Gilkes. He worked sometimes on the Stradivari model, some- 
times on the Stainer, but always arched his instruments in 
a grotesque manner. I am not sure that he did not sometimes 
bake his wood, as the tone of some of them is of a wretched 
character. Label : 



FORSTER, WILLIAM, Brampton : 1714-1801. He 
was the son of John Forster, and, like his father, made and 
repaired an occasional riddle. The workmanship is a little 
better than his father's, but the tone is about the same. His 
instruments are unpurfled, and spirit varnished. 

FORSTER, WILLIAM, Brampton and London: 1739- 
1808. He is known as "Old Forster," and is the greatest 
maker of the family. He was born May 1739, and died 
Dec. 14, 1808. "Old Forster" may be described as the 
British type of which Vuillaume was the French antitype, 
although they were not separated by a great span of years. 
He was the exact counterpart of the great Frenchman 
shrewd, versatile, and worldly-wise. When French players 
wanted a Stradivari or a Guarneri fiddle, Vuillaume met their 
demands and sold them those new-old instruments which set 
the Seine on fire. Similarly, when the British public wanted 
Stainer copies, or Amati copies, or any other copies, Forster 
was equal to the occasion, and supplied them with their require- 
ments. The only difference between the two men, apparently, 
was that the Britisher possessed in addition to the artistic sense 


another and sometimes inconvenient sense called " conscience." 
In all other respects Forster and Vuillaume were similar. Had 
Forster lived amongst wiser people, that would demand Stradi- 
vari copies, his instruments would rank beside those of Vuil- 
laume. Forster was a "Jack of all trades" and master of 
more than one. By turns a spinning-wheel maker, gun-stock 
maker, cattle driver, publisher, fiddler he could manage to 
eke out an existence at any one of them. As a luthier he 
rose from being a humble Cumberland repairer to the rank 
of instrument maker to the Court. He ought to have been 
the greatest maker of all England, and would have been but 
for his many-sidedness and the indiscrimination of his country- 
men. His artistic work at Brampton was confined to the 
repairing of old instruments, and the making of an occasional 
fiddle on the Stainer model. In 1759 he came to London, 
and after meeting with some reverses, entered the shop of one 
Beck, of Tower Hill, where he remained for about two years 
making fiddles. In 1762 he set up at Duke's Court, whence 
he removed to St. Martin's Lane. From this place he again 
removed to 348 Strand, where he remained for the rest of his 
days. He followed three models : (a) Stainer, () A. & H. 
Amati, (c) N. Amati. 

He appears to have followed Stainer exclusively from 1762 
to 1772, but at the latter date he put aside that model never to 
take it up again. From 1760 to 1790 the influence of Banks 
was felt far and near, and British players were awakening to 
the superior merits of Amati. Forster was still a young man 
of only thirty-three, and had the better and longer half of his 
life before him. When he turned his back on the German he 
was in possession of his full strength and able to swim fast 
with the flowing tide. It was not so with Duke, who had 
less than a third of his life to live when the star of Amati 
appeared on the horizon. Now was Forster's chance. 

" There is a tide in the affairs of men, 
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune." 

Forster might have reached the broad sea of artistic fame 
had he not paused by the way. He dallied with the form of 

(Fecit 1772) 



A. & H. Amati, and gave up much time to musical enter- 
prise, which, although profitable both to him and to the public, 
kept him from looking steadily on. " Beware of the man of one 
book " is an adage which, slightly modified, is applicable in many 
ways. If Forster had been a man of one ideal, posterity would 
have rewarded him by conferring upon him the title which has 
been given to Banks. As matters stand he must rest content 
with perhaps a third place on the list. His Stainer co*pies are 
very good, but do not compare for finish and tone with, e.g., 
the instruments of Duke. The Amati copies are much better, 
being solid and well finished. When copying A. & H. Amati 
he was at his best as regards workmanship, and the result shows 
what he was capable of when at his best. But the tone of 
these copies is rather small and glassy. One beautiful specimen 
I have seen and tried : it was made of fine wood, with maple 
of narrow, regular, and well-defined curl, very pretty to look 
at, and varnished in dark, golden amber. Its principal dimen- 
sions were : 

Length of body i3Jf inches. 

Width across upper bouts .... 6^-j 

middle bouts . . . 4l ^ 

lower bouts .... 7 

Width of C's 3A 

Length of/'s 2|- 

Depth of ribs at bottom . . . . l 

top .... i^. 

His N. Amati copies are very faithful to the original, but are 
never likely to lend themselves to the wiles of the forger. 
The same remark applies to the tenors. The violoncellos stand 
on an altogether higher platform. Here, delicacy of detail is 
not so absolutely necessary as in the smaller work, and solidity 
and rugged grandeur show to better advantage. His larger 
work is of moderately full proportions, not usually so large as the 
larger-sized violoncellos of Banks. But he varied his model a 
great deal, sometimes widening the waist, sometimes flattening 
the upper bouts, and sometimes narrowing the width all over 


and lengthening the body. The tone of the violoncellos is 
excellent, and was greatly appreciated in England previous to 
the advent of Italian instruments. It will be appreciated still 
more when we think it worth our while to coax the old 
veterans out of the sullen silence into which they have been 
obliged to retire. The world is tolerably free of fraudulent 
Forster 'cellos. I have not seen any, but have heard of one or 
two. No doubt there are many genuine " Forsters" still in exist- 
ence, but quite a host of them disappeared during the latter half 
of the nineteenth century. The average catalogue price for the 
violoncellos from 1890 to 1900 is 23. They will command 
a higher figure in the near future. Those varnished dark 
amber were preferred in the eighteenth century, but the red 
ones are more in favour to-day. The amber ones which I 
have seen were not so well stocked with wood as the red ones. 
Probably the greater thickness of the latter placed them at a 
slight disadvantage when new, which is the very reason why 
they are the better sort to-day. I do not know that it was a 
rule with Forster to make uniformly in this manner, and to 
indicate the difference in thickness by a difference in the colour 
of the varnish. I only point out that so far as my observation 
goes it was his invariable practice. He is said to have used 
fossil amber for the basis of his varnish towards the end of his 
life, in the solution of which he was assisted by Delaporte, a 
chemist. There is a close resemblance between the said varnish 
and that manufactured until recently by the Messrs. Caffyn of 
London. Forster made only four double-basses, three of which 
were for the private band of George III. Labels : 





N.B. The above instruments are made in the best manner and 

finished with the original varnish ; and a copy of every 

Capital instrument in England may be had. 


FORSTER, WILLIAM, London : 1764-1824. "Young 
Forster," as he has been called, was the son of the great Forster. 
He was born Jan. 7, 1764, and died July 24, 1824. He 
maintained to some extent the traditions and reputation of his 
father, but he failed (or did not try) to maintain the same 
standard of excellence throughout. His work varies a great 
deal ; some of it is no better than the cheapest of the modern 
factory noise boxes, and some is fully as good as the best of 
his father's. 

Haweis says there was an erratic vein in the Forster 
family, which in "old" Forster took the shape of "amazing 
versatility," but in the younger members degenerated into 
" speculative eccentricity." I prefer to think of " old " Forster 
as a genius, and of the sons and grandsons as the offspring 
thereof. And it is a well-nigh universal rule that the offspring 
of genius are the shipwreck of genius. Genius, as I conceive 
it, is the abnormal development of some particular gift or 
faculty, with the other faculties also sufficiently strong to give 
it support. The offspring of a genius often show the same 
gift developed in the same abnormal degree, but they have not 
the other powers of the mind in the necessary state of health 
and strength to give it equilibrium ; i.e. in other words, they 
have not sufficient ballast. Genius without the accompanying 
staying powers of the mind is like a vessel without a helm. 
We have the children of a dozen geniuses living amongst 
us to-day, nearly all of whom may be recognised as the 
sons of their fathers, but they are more or less rudderless 
sails in a stormy sea. It has been often said that the sons 
of great men elect to walk the quieter paths of mediocre 
distinction out of consideration for their fathers, but this is 
said more in charity than in sincerity. No man puts his 
candle under a bushel without at the same time extin- 
guishing it, and suicide is not sacrifice. I have seen one 
or two violins by "young" Forster, which were excellent 
as regards finish and tone, and they had his father's amber 
oil varnish, thinly laid on and well polished. He made a 
number of inferior instruments, some unpurfled, and with 


two or three coatings of a hard spirit varnish, which he let 
out on hire. Labels : 







The number of the instrument, the date, and the abbrevia- 
tion " jun." were added in handwriting. 

FORSTER, WILLIAM, London: 1788-1824. He was 
born Dec. 14, 1788, and died Oct. 8, 1824. He was a 
pupil of his father and also of his grandfather, and his work 
has much the same characteristics as that of the former. 
He made only about twenty instruments bearing his own label, 
the others were made for dealers. 

FRANKLAND, , London: 1780-90. He was pro- 
bably a pupil of one of the Forsters, and he was employed by 
" young " Forster for some time. Ordinary work and tone. 
No label known. 

FRYER, CHARLES, London and Leeds: 1820-40. 
He was for some time partner with W. M. Dearlove, of 
Leeds. I have not seen any of his work. 

FURBER, DAVID, London. He was a pupil of John 
Johnson, and made similar instruments on the Stainer pattern. 
He was the first member of this numerous family to make 

FURBER, HENRY JOHN, London : nineteenth century. 
Pupil of his father, John Furber. He has made many instru- 
ments, several of which I have seen and tried. I cannot say 


that I admire either the tone or the workmanship very much. 
His work has been much praised in some quarters, and Hart 
says that he has made some excellent instruments. Some 
modern makers are much addicted to what may be termed 
" class work " ; i.e., they turn out instruments of various 
qualities, which they arrange according to merit into class 
A, B, C, &c. I think this is much to be deprecated. Every 
artist ought always to be at his best, and, so far as his mate- 
rial will allow, should turn out work of uniform excellence. 
Perhaps it has been my fortune to see only the third-rate 
work of this Furber. 

FURBER, JAMES, London. Eldest son of the elder 
Matthew Furber. I have never seen any of his work, and am 
not sure that he was an actual maker. 

FURBER, JOHN, London : about 1810-45. He was 
the third son of Matthew Furber, sen., and a pupil of his 
father and John Betts. He made a large number of instru- 
ments on the grand Amati pattern, and some copies of the 
" Betts " Stradivari, when that famous masterpiece was in the 
possession of Betts. His work is excellent in every respect. I 
quite recently saw one of these copies, and I must say that I 
considered it a superb example of the copyist's art. The wood 
of the back was of a broad " flame," with the curl slanting 
nearly at right angles to the longitudinal axis in the direction 
of the lower end of the instrument. The varnish was golden 
red, mellow, tender, and not too thickly laid on. The tone 
was clear and penetrating, and very fine on the two inner 
strings. The only part of the work which might be considered 
to be lacking in depth of feeling was the scroll, which was not 
quite in the spirit of the master, being somewhat stiff and 
over masculine. His Amati copies are considerably modified 
in many instances, and some of them are rather deeply grooved 
and highly arched, but the tone is almost invariably clear and 
penetrating. His best violins realise as much as .20 to-day, 
and they will sell at a still higher figure in years to come. 
Furber worked for J. Betts at the Royal Exchange, and man y 


of the fine instruments which bear Belts' label. His own label 




FURBER, MATTHEW, London: 1730-90. He was 
the son and pupil of David Furber. Very little of his work is 
known. He died in 1790, and was buried in Clerkenwell 

FURBER, MATTHEW, London: 1780-1831. Son 
and pupil of the preceding. His violins are often advertised 
in catalogues of old instruments, but I do not remember having 
even seen any of them. He was buried in the same church- 
yard as his father. 

GARDEN, JAMES, Edinburgh, contemporary. An 
amateur, who has only made a few violins. 

GIBBS, JAMES, London: 1800-45. It is not certain 
that he made any instruments on his own account, but he 
worked for J. Morrison, G. Corsby, and S. Gilkes. 

GILBERT, JEFFERY JAMES, Peterborough, con- 
temporary. He is the son of Jeffery and Eleanor Langley 
Gilbert, and was born in New Romney on Aug. 16, 1850. 
He is the direct representative of an old Kentish family, one of 
the most notable members of which, in recent times, was Sir 
Jeffery Gilbert, whom the learned in the law described as " the 
accomplished exchequer baron." He received private tuition 
till he was about twelve years of age, after which he spent some 
years at the Crockley Green Grammar School, which was then 
under the mastership of Mr. Thomas Dalby. Mr. Gilbert is 
one of the leading makers of modern times, and his workman- 
ship, varnish, and tone give him a place amongst the very 
select few of the innermost circle of present day makers. 


Although he has always been of an artistic and musical 
turn of mind, he was more than twenty years of age before 
he had any kindly feelings for the violin in particular. 
Having once caught the infection he was soon in the firm 
grip of the fiddle " disease." His father in his own early days 
was an enthusiastic amateur player and maker, and from him 
he seems to have inherited the practical side of his character. 
He commenced his early studies quite unaided, as his father 
did all he could to discourage the budding "Stradivari," 
intending him for another career ; and, living as he was in 
a small isolated town, there were no opportunities of gaining 
any knowledge whatever upon the subject. 

The purely mechanical part of the work never presented 
any great difficulty to his hand and eye, but he was not long 
in recognising the fact that it required something more than 
an expert use of carving tools to create a masterpiece in tone, 
and especially was the difficulty of an approximate repro- 
duction of the fine old varnishes realised by him. About 
this time he made the acquaintance of several connoisseurs in 
London, notably that of the late Charles Reade, the late 
George Hart, Mr. Horace Petherick, Dr. John Day, and 
George Withers, all of whom took a kindly interest in his 
work, and from time to time gave him useful hints. Mr. 
Reade was especially interested in his varnish studies, and on 
the eve of his last departure for the Continent, a short time 
before his death, had a long chat with him on the " mysteries " 
of old Cremona. It was at this final parting that Reade 
spoke to him the cheery words, " Go on, Mr. Gilbert, do not 
get discouraged, I am sure you will succeed in the end." 
This was in allusion to the varnish problem. 

In 1876, Mr. Gilbert was married to Miss Lily White, 
in St. John's Church, Peterborough. He has six children, 
named Jeftery Francis White, Charles Clement, Catharine 
Eleanor, Leslie Baker, Kate Julia, and Frederick William. 

Up to date, Mr. Gilbert has made 166 instruments, 
comprising six 'cellos, thirty violas and viola altas, and the 
remainder violins. His aim has always been quality, and not 


quantity, and he carefully studies each instrument during its 

His models have varied from time to time, and are 
original, without being vagaries on the one hand or slavish 
copies on the other. 

The measurements of the two violin models, of distinctly 
different outline, from which he is at present working, are 
as follows : 

(a) Length of body 14 inches. 

Width of upper bouts . . 6^ 

middle bouts . . . 4! 

lower bouts . . . 8 

f Width of ribs at bottom . . . i 

(Gradually diminishing at top to . J rV 

() Length of body 14 

Width of upper bouts . . . 6| 

middle bouts . . . 4! 

lower bouts . . 8J 
Ribs same as above. 

Model (a) is shown in the accompanying illustration. 

The sound-holes are the same in both models, and are 
3-jJg. in. long. 

The measurements of the viola model are : 

Length of body . . . . . .16 inches. 

Width of upper bouts . . . . ?f > 
,, middle bouts . . . 5^ > 

,, lower bouts ' 9 

Ribs at bottom . . . . . i^ 

top . . ; if 

and those of the viola alta : 

Length of body. , . . . . 17 inches. 

Width of upper bouts 8 

middle bouts . . . Sf >> 

lower bouts 9* 

Depth of ribs T J T in. more all over than in those of viola. 
The length of sound-holes is identical in both violas and 
viola altas, and is 3f in. 

Photo. A. /'. Htaly 

(Fecit 1903) 


His 'cello model is also an original one, and the measure- 
ments are : 

Length of body 29! inches. 

Width of upper bouts . . . . *3i 
middle bouts . . . gf 

lower bouts . . . . . 17^ 

Depth of ribs 4r* 

Length of sound-holes . * . . 5^ ,, 

The outline of Mr. Gilbert's instruments is very beautiful, 
and the curves are as graceful as it is possible for curves to be. 
The violin scroll is in the best Italian style. The width 
from boss-edge to boss-edge is i-j^- in. The depth of the 
peg-box at the deepest part is ^-f- in., diminishing to ^J- at 
the throat. 

The scollop is nicely rounded, and projects sufficiently to 
produce piquancy of expression. The curves of the volute 
are most delicately scooped at the base, and the flutes at the 
back of the box give the correct balance in lines of subdued 
boldness. The button is nearly semi-circular, strong, and in 
keeping with the contour. The edges are fairly full, not 
exactly rounded nor yet raised, but turned in a manner that 
emphasises the extreme outline of the fiddle. The margin 
was exactly % in. wide in the specimens examined by me, 
and the purfling, which was inlaid beautifully, ^ in. wide. 
The sound-holes are a masterly conception. In outline they 
are all but identical with those of Strad ; but not in inclina- 
tion. The notch is a most interesting detail I have never 
seen it made so artistically by any other luthier, whether 
classical or post-classical. The hollowing out of the lower 
lip (or wing) is also a noticeable feature, and is in the best 
Stradivarian style. 

The varnish is luscious, brilliant, and transparent. Colours : 
amber, dark amber, light brown, very dark brown, light red, 
and deep rich red. In the last-mentioned colour the varnish 
is of surpassing beauty and excellence. It is beautiful in all 
the colours, but in describing the deep red, " beautiful " and 
such-like adjectives are not quite good enough. The varnish 


is, of course, an oil one not " linseed or any other heavy oil, 
which destroy all that is good in colour, delicacy, and bril- 
liancy" so Mr. Gilbert informs me. The wood is always 
acoustically perfect and very handsome. It is mostly cut 
sur maille^ though I have seen one specimen in which both 
tables were whole. 

The tone is large, clear, and bell-like, and with age and 
careful use will develop, no doubt, qualities that may be con- 
sidered in their sum total as a just combination of the sweetness 
of Amati and the power of Guarneri. 

All the work is personal, and the instruments are numbered 
consecutively as they are finished, both upon the base of the 
neck (under the finger-board) and inside on the face of the top 
block. They have also in addition to the label the artist's 
autograph on the back. 

The prices are : 

Violins . . . . . . 25 guineas. 


'Cellos from 45 

Mr. Gilbert's instruments have gained the following 
awards: "International Exhibition," Crystal Palace, 1884, 
Silver Medal (highest award) ; " International Inventions 
Exhibition," London, 1885, Silver Medal; "International 
Exhibition," Edinburgh, 1890, Gold Medal. 

Facsimile label : 

Fecit. Anno MDCCCXCIX. 

The label is printed on cartridge paper from an engraved 

GILCHRIST, JAMES, Glasgow: 1832-94. An amateur 
maker, who was by trade a philosophical instrument maker. 
He made eighty-six stringed instruments of every description. 


The workmanship is very fair, but the work as a whole lacks 
individuality, and the tone is of a poor quality. Label : 

GLASGOW, 1892 

GILKES, SAMUEL, London: 1787-1827. He was 
born at Morton Pinkney, Northamptonshire, and died Nov. 
1827. His work has been greatly praised by competent 
judges, and fully deserves to be. He died a comparatively 
young man, just as he was beginning to give the world the first- 
fruit of ripened talent. He started work on his own account 
in 1810, and for the next ten years he followed the lines of 
Charles Harris. The chief fault of his model of this period is 
that it is a copy of a copy. Many modern makers commit 
the same error, and we have to-day in the work of some 
amateurs copies that are removed from the original to the fifth 
or sixth degree. This is much to be deplored, as something 
is lost at each remove, and the result in the long run becomes 
a caricature. Originality pure and simple is quite a different 
thing, as in such a case the powers of the mind are unfettered 
and allowed free display. From 1820 on his work shows 
improvement in style, and his Amati and Stradivari copies of 
this period are excellent. He had probably had opportunity 
about the year 1820 of seeing and closely examining genuine 
Amati and Stradivari (grand) violins. The characteristics of 
his early Amati work are : a rather pronounced arching, 
narrow margins, a somewhat top-heavy scroll, and a very 
weak button ; and of the early Strad copies, rather gaping 
sound-holes, narrow margins, with a leaning towards the 
Amati arching, especially between the inner bouts, where 
there is also a decided groove between the sound-holes and 
the edge. These defects are nearly altogether eliminated in 
his latest and best work. The scroll of a Stradivari copy 
which I saw quite recently was thoroughly Italian in character, 
and the sound-holes beautifully cut and not too wide. The 
outline was pure and the arching very graceful. The wood 
of the back was cut on the quarter, with a curl of regular 


and medium width, and the pine was of close grain. The 
varnish was golden brown in colour, of a good quality and per- 
fectly transparent. The tone was clear, bright, and mellow. It 
is a great pity Gilkes did not live another twenty years, because 
it is quite evident that he had just begun on a period of activity 
in production and accuracy of model. He was the pupil of 
his relative Charles Harris, and he worked for a few years 
with William Forster. Label : 






GILKES, WILLIAM, London: 1811-75. He was a 
pupil of his father, and succeeded to his business in James 
Street, which he later removed to Dartmouth Street. He 
made many double-basses and other instruments, which are of 
ordinary workmanship and tone. 

GINTON, R., Cork, contemporary. An amateur maker, 
who has made a few violins of good workmanship and 

GIRVAN, THOMAS, Edinburgh, contemporary. He 
was born in 1849, and commenced to make violins about thirty 
years ago. Average work and tone. Label : 




GLENDAY, JAMES, Padanaram : nineteenth century. 
Very indifferent work. 

GLENISTER, WILLIAM, London, contemporary. 
He was born on May 16, 1850, at Chenies, Bucks, and 


resides now at 23 Beak Street, Regent Street, W. The 
early years of his life were spent at Watford, Herts, the family 
having removed there when he was three years of age. His 
father was a gardener by occupation, and young Glenister 
also became a gardener on his leaving school, which was at a 
very early age. He remained among the " flowers, fruits, and 
trees " till he was twenty-two, when an opening occurred and 
was offered him in the corn trade. He availed himself of the 
opportunity, and he has followed that trade ever since, he 
being now manager of the firm into which he came twenty- 
seven years ago as apprentice. 

It will thus be seen that Mr. Glenister belongs to that 
class of makers which is termed " amateur " ; but he is an 
amateur in the best and in the original sense of the term. 
The hobby is to him in very truth a labour of love. The 
born artist is visible in every line and curve of his beautiful 
productions. And here it may be remarked that the man 
whom nature has meant for an artist is certain to exert the 
force of his personality, be he habited in the guise of an 
amateur or in that of a professional. The difference between 
the two classes is not always one of kind, nor of degree, but 
of sentiment. There is a certain coterie of writers in our 
midst to-day, who ever pronounces its anathema upon 
anything by an amateur ; it cries " professional ! " and 
professional must the work be, or nothing. The cry is much 
on a par with that of old, " Aut C&sar, aut nullus" 

Not very long after he entered the corn trade, i.e. on July 
3, 1875, Mr. Glenister was married to Jane, daughter of Mr. 
J. E. Chambers, of Stanstead, Kent, at Willesden Parish 
Church, Middlesex. In business, he is described as a gentle- 
man actuated by the highest principles ; and in the home, as 
the embodiment of amiability and gentleness. 

Mr. Glenister works on the lines of Strad, Guarnerius, 
and N. Amati, but his "divinity" is the greatest of these 
three, and his prototype the great "Tuscan." His first 
fiddle was made in 1888, and was the result of a careful study 
of the masterly work of Mr. Ed. Heron-Allen. Since that 


date he has produced sixty violins and one 'cello. All these, 
with the exception of the first three or four, are fine in- 
struments. The mere mechanical part of the work never 
offered much trouble to Mr. Glenister, for he ever had an 
aptitude for making little articles in wood. 

The outline of the Strad copies is exactly that of the 
"Tuscan," and the measurements are the maestro 1 s to the 
wth. The model is a trifle flatter and more extended towards 
the margins, after the style of Maggini. The scroll is bold 
and masculine. The button is rounded, graceful, and lies 
evenly with the plane of the instrument. The sound-holes 
are a slight modification of those of Strad, and placed a shade 
nearer the edge. They are in perfect keeping, however, with 
the outline, and the effect, arising from their position and 
inclination in the subdued arching, is highly artistic. The 
purfling is inlaid perfectly and without a tremor. The back 
of one specimen examined by me was whole, the curl running 
at an angle of thirty degrees to the long axis, i.e. in the lower 
alternate angle of the left side. The " flame " was vivid and 
fairly broad. In another it was cut sur maille^ with the curl 
running " buttonwise." The pine was of close, even grain, 
and of excellent tonal qualities. Some of Mr. Glenister's best 
pine has been obtained from an old house in Beak Street, and 
although it is old and well past the age at which shrinking 
may be supposed to cease, still he leaves his plates thick and 

Mr. Glenister used Whitelaw's varnish on his first efforts, 
and also CafFyn's ; but now he uses a varnish made by Mr. 
Urquhart, of Derby Street, Mayfair. This varnish gives 
highly satisfactory results. It is brilliant, transparent, and 
lasting. It does not chip, and it is tough and elastic. It has 
that undefinable, unctuous something about it, which is not 
seen every day in varnish except when you are in the goodly 
fellowship of the holy Cremonese. It is an oil amber one, 
and made in all the usual colours. Mr. Glenister uses, 
almost without exception, the golden brown, and the golden 


The tone is not a large one, but it has splendid qualities ; 
it is delicate, sensitive, and sweet. Facsimile label : 

GLOAG, JOHN, Galston, contemporary. He was born 
Oct. 24, 1853, m tne parish of Riccarton, Ayrshire. His 
father removed from there to Ashby-de-la-Zouch, in Leicester- 
shire, and Gloag was educated at the Ashby Grammar School. 
Later, the family removed to Galston, where he was apprenticed 
to a joiner, and he is now employed as estate joiner on the 
Loudoun estate. All his spare time is devoted to his beloved 
hobby violin-making and he turns out splendid work, both 
as regards finish and tone. He follows the Stradivari model 
as shown and described in " Violin-making, as it Was and Is," 
and he has latterly made several instruments on an original 
model. He uses Whitelaw's varnish ; colour, dark-amber 
yellow. He obtained the first prize for a case of violins at 
an industrial exhibition held at Darvel. Price of violins, 5. 
Facsimile label : 

GOODMAN, JAMES, Brentford, contemporary. I have 
not seen any of his work, and do not know whether he works 
as a professional or as an amateur maker. 

GORRIE, J., - , contemporary. I know nothing of 
him or of his work. 


GOUGH, JOHN, Leeds : about 1820. He worked for 

Mark William Dearlove. 

GOUGH, WALTER, Leeds: about 1800-30. Indif- 
ferent work and tone. 

GOULDING, , London : about 1790. 

GRAY, JOHN, Fochabers : 1860-75. He did not make 
many instruments. 

GREGSON, ROBERT, Blackburn, contemporary. He 
was born at Whiteberk, near Blackburn, on June 3, 1871. 
He commenced work as a professional maker in 1898, and his 
first instruments were very indifferent in workmanship and 
tone, but he has improved very rapidly, and ought to reach 
a fair standard of excellence. His one mistake is that he does 
not copy anybody. If a violin-maker is not endowed with the 
powers of originality in a high degree, he should not attempt 
to cut out a path for himself, and even when he feels conscious 
of rare gifts within, he should devote some years to the exact 
and careful copying of some old master. Talents must be fed 
and pruned like fruit-trees in an orchard. Gregson is impatient 
of detail. The more conspicuous parts of the instrument are 
carefully handled, but there is a disregard for purity of outline 
and clean inlaying of the purfle, &c. However, Gregson is a 
beginner, and may with severe application rectify these errors 
and become an excellent workman. The tone of the last 
violin which he made is very good. Facsimile label : 

" flrte et Cabore*" 






HALL, WILLIAM H., Oldham, contemporary. He 
works at 78 Morris Street, Glodwick, Oldham. He is a good 
maker, who uses splendid material and varnish. He follows 
the Stradivari, Guarneri, and Amati models. The tone is not 
large, but it is bright, responsive, and sweet. 

HAMBLETON, JOSEPH, Salford, 1854. I have not 
seen any of his work, but it is said to be of average 

HAMILTON, WILLIAM, Uddingston, contemporary. 
An amateur maker who has made some first-class instruments. 
He was born at Anderston, Glasgow, May 5, 1861, and is by 
profession a consulting engineer. He spent some time in a 
pattern shop, where he was trained in the use of wood-working 

A copy of Gasparo da Sal6 by him is one of the finest 
examples of the copyist's art that I have seen certainly it is 
the finest Gasparo copy that I have ever examined. The 
wood in the back of this instrument is superb ; the curl being 
of medium width and of mathematical regularity. The varnish 
is an oil one ; colour, golden orange. The tone is exceedingly 
powerful, rich, and free. 

Another instrument by him was on an original model, 
which rather exaggerated the proportions of the Brescian 
model, and was altogether too large, the length being 14! in. ; 
width across upper bouts 6| in., and across lower bouts 8| in. 
The tone was not correspondingly large ; on the other hand, 
it was of a nasal, viola-like quality, and did not carry. The 
workmanship is faultless, and careful attention is paid to the 
minutest detail. The maker should confine his attention to 
the Gasparo model, as he is evidently in sincere and deep 
sympathy with it, and shows a better hand at it than any 
maker does that I am acquainted with. He uses no label, but 


has written across the back his autograph, name of town, and 
date. The following is a facsimile of the inscription : 


/ / 7 

HAMILTON, W. R. T., Edinburgh, contemporary. 
I know nothing of his work. 

HANDLEY, HENRY, Worcester, contemporary. He 
was born in 1839. He began to make professionally in 1886, 
and up to the present he has made about eighty violins, violas, 
and violoncellos. He follows the model of a Guarnerius 
violin of the date of 1715, and the workmanship is good and 
careful all over. The wood is carefully selected, and the 
varnish is Whitelaw's " Amati " colour. The tone has none 
of the Joseph characteristics ; it is moderately powerful and 
fairly clear and responsive. The plates are left thickly 
wooded, and the tone will probably be much better when 
age and use have done their work. Facsimile label : 

"gjlestorer cm6 Rafter, 

HARBOUR, , London: 1780-90. Inferior work. 

He lived at Duke Street, Lincoln's Inn, and later at South- 
ampton Buildings, Holborn. 

HARDIE, ALEXANDER, Maxwelltown : 1797-1855. 
He did not make very many violins, but the few that are 
left show that he was skilful, and that he could have excelled 
if he had devoted all his time to the art. 


HARDIE, ALEXANDER, Galashiels : 181 1-90. Many 
violins on his father's model the Hardie previously men- 
tioned which is a sort of compromise between the models 
of Amati and Stainer. Both workmanship and tone are of 
mediocre quality. 

HARDIE, JAMES, Edinburgh : 1800-56. This Hardie 
was not related to any of the other Hardies, or to the maker 
of that name now living. His models resemble those of 
Matt. Hardie, i.e. they are on the lines of N. Amati and 
Stradivari, but they can hardly be termed copies. The work- 
manship and tone are excellent. Label : 


HARDIE, JAMES (and Son), Edinburgh, contemporary. 
He was born at Aquhedley, in the Parish of Ellon, Aberdeen- 
shire, on Jan. I, 1836 not in 1837, as state d i n some bio- 
graphical dictionaries. He is the son of William and Mary 
Hardie, and is one of thirteen children seven sons and six 
daughters. His mother's maiden name was Strachan, and she 
belonged to Drumnagarrow, Aberdeenshire. She is still alive, 
and considerably over ninety years of age. Hardie received 
his education at the Methlic Public School, and in the 
Normal College, Edinburgh. 

He commenced his first instrument, a violoncello, when 
nine years old ; it was a copy of an instrument belonging to 
his father, and he made it throughout, except the pegs. This 
was an exceptionally early age at which to take up the gouge 
and calipers ; but the real period of work commenced when 
he was fifteen, at which age he began to work under his 
grandfather's instructions at Dunkeld. 

On January 23, 1862, he was married to Miss Elsie 
Milne Davidson, at Methlic. From this union there has 
sprung a progeny of thirteen, named in order as follows : 
Elsie, James, Elsie, William, Mary, Isabella, Mary, William, 
Alfred, Charles, Isabella, Evelyn, and Maud. Of these, six 


died in infancy. This accounts for several of the names 
being the same. 

The eldest son, James, who was an excellent violin 
player, and a leader in the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh, died 
on April 6, 1898. From the age of fifteen down to the 
present, Hardie has been constantly at work. He is a prolific 
maker, and has, according to the strictest account, produced 
well over two thousand fiddles. He has made himself a 
goodly number of violoncellos and double-basses. All the 
work is personal. His sons assist him in minor matters, such 
as regulating, stringing up, &c., but not in actual making. 
Mr. William Hardie, however, has made one violin. Out of 
the two thousand and odd violins made by Hardie, a propor- 
tion of about twenty per cent., i.e. something like two hundred, 
are superior instruments, and reach a high standard of excel- 
lence. Many of these, it may be stated without exaggeration, 
are simply beautiful, and will certainly add lustre to the fame 
of Scotland's makers. The material used in them is of the 
finest quality chosen more for its acoustic properties than 
for its artistic appearance. The varnish is very fine, having 
for its basis fossil amber. It varies in colour from rich golden 
yellow to red and ruby, but is more successful in the golden 
yellow than in the other tints. 

He commenced to use amber oil varnish in 1869 just 
nine years after the first experiments of Dr. George Dickson, 
whatever may be the significance of the fact. I borrow the 
statement from Mr. W. C. Honeyman that Mr. Hardie is 
largely indebted to the Doctor for his initiation into the p,v&- 
rijpia of the method of dissolving amber. Certain it is, how- 
ever, that Hardie makes, and always has made, his own varnish. 

Hardie follows the Stradivari, Guarneri, and Maggini 
models, but has a decided preference for the last named. 
His measurements are those of the great Brescian, but he 
varies in the thicknesses according to the density of his wood. 
All his instruments on the Maggini model are double purfled. 
This fact will help the average connoisseur to detect forgeries. 
It is curious that two series of forgeries of a diametrically 
opposite character have been perpetrated in connection with 


Hardie's name. One is recorded by Mr. Honeyman in his 
sketches in the People's Friend. It is this : several of Hardie's 
cheaper instruments " pot-boilers " in fact were purchased 
some years ago by a certain individual and labelled " Panormo " 
and " Fendt," and then sold in auction rooms. 

The other is still more flattering to Hardie. A certain 
maker (personally known to the author), of mediocre attain- 
ments, possessed a fine Hardie fiddle (Maggini model) and 
made a number of copies of it. He varnished them with a 
poor oil varnish in glaring yellow, fitted them up, inserted a 
forged Hardie ticket, and got rid of them at the pawnbrokers. 
Some of these were sold afterwards for considerable sums. I 
know the locale of three of these counterfeit " Hardies " at the 
present moment. It has often amused me to watch their role 
in the little masquerade they carry on. One changed hands 
recently for jCi2. These " Hardie-Maggini " forgeries are, it 
should be noted, single purfled. Aliquando bonus dormitat Homerus. 

Hardie's wood is excellent, and his tone is large, rich, and 
telling. He succeeds well in producing the Maggini tone, 
and, no doubt, when his violins have been well used, the tone 
will have the copious "tears" of the Brescian maestro. His 
prices range from 3 to 20. 

He has exhibited on several occasions. At the Edinburgh 
International Exhibition in 1886 he gained a bronze medal ; 
at the Glasgow Exhibition in 1886-87 an honourable mention ; 
and at the International Exhibition, Edinburgh, in 1890, a 
gold medal. An Exhibition prize violin is shown in the 
illustration. Facsimile label : 


James tmrote & Sons, 




HARDIE, MATTHEW, Edinburgh : 1755-1826. He 
was born in Edinburgh in the year 1755, died in St. 
Cuthbert's Poorhouse, Aug. 30, 1826, and was buried in 
Greyfriars' Churchyard. His work is excellent, and deserves 
much more attention than has been given it by English con- 
noisseurs and writers. All English writers on the violin assert 
that Hardie copied N. Amati, a fact which is denied by Mr. 
Honeyman, who says that he copied Stradivari. Dogma 
should be based on truth. There is such a thing as a logical 
principle of contradiction a thing cannot both be and not be 
at the same time. The truth is, Matthew Hardie copied 
both Amati and Stradivari, and it is so self-evident that I am 
astounded that any one who undertakes to write on the sub- 
ject should be ignorant of it. I have both seen and handled 
genuine examples of his art, some of which were on the 
Amati and some on the Stradivari model. So far as my 
experience goes, Hardie made about as many copies of the one 
as he did of the other. Except as regards varnish, his Amati 
copies will compare very favourably with the best work of 
Benjamin Banks. His tone is decidedly larger than that of 
Banks, but what it gains in quantity it often loses in quality. 
He was a prolific maker, and his fame must have spread far and 
near in his own day, since there were numerous instruments 
of his make to be found in the south of England, and some 
even in South Wales and the west of Ireland, so long ago as 
the early part of last century. One beautiful violin on the 
Amati model was for over fifty years in the possession of the 
Barham family, Trecwn, in far-away Pembrokeshire. The 
old squire of Trecwn bought it somewhere about 1830 of 
one of his tenants, a Mr. Campbell, who hailed from Scotland. 
In 1880 the last member of the Barham family died, and the 
beautiful old " Hardie " disappeared. I played on this fiddle 
more than once, and have a vivid recollection of its clear, 
responsive Maggini-like tone. The Hardies have a sort of 
traditional bias towards the Maggini tone. In my time, in 
the capacity of expert, I have examined about thirty of the 
violins of this maker, the majority of which, so far as my 

( Fecit 1803) 


recollection goes, were on the grand Amati model. What 
particularly struck me was the indisputable evidence produced 
in each case as to the pedigree of the instrument, showing 
that the purchase was made by a deceased member of the 
family of the owner, either from the maker himself, or from 
some one else during the lifetime of the maker. It proved, as 
already stated, that Hardie's fame had reached to the far limits 
of the British Isles before he had laid down his tools. I doubt 
whether the fame of Banks, Forster, or Duke had spread so 
far in their own lifetime. It is not just, therefore, on the 
part of English authors to ignore this remarkable man's work. 
Hart, Haweis, and one or two more animadvert rather severely 
on the sins of omission of continental writers, forgetful of the 
fact that they themselves do scant justice to Scottish makers 
of renown. Scotland has produced quite an army of fiddle- 
makers, some of whom have left us examples of their art that 
will in many respects vie with our classical chefs cTaeuvre. 
Had the early Hardies, M'George, Stirrat, &c., been more 
fortunate in the production of varnish, much of their work 
would be equal to the best work of English makers. 

Matthew Hardie made no attempt at originality : he did 
his best to copy faithfully, but he was original in spite of 
himself. The principal measurements are generally in strict 
keeping with the original, but the stringency of figures does 
not imprison the personality of the man. When there is a 
strict watch set over self in the definition of the outline, 
individuality bursts the bonds in sunder and runs up the sides 
of the arch, only to sit down there and laugh at the man with 
the gouge. The sound- holes of the Amati copies are note- 
worthy. Here the truth of the foregoing remarks will become 
evident to any one who makes a close examination of the 
work. The sound-holes of N. Amati are artistic and quiet ; 
they are always so cut and set in the table as not to call 
attention to themselves. Hardie's sound-holes are artistic 
enough, but they arrest one's attention, and speak to the eye 
with a sort of mute humour. 

I had always imagined old Matt. Hardie to be a strange 
mixture of veneration and irony even before I had read a line 


about him. His life is written in his work. Look at his 
Strad copies ! The strong plates, the correct outline, and the 
graceful arching are evidence of a mind that was prostrate at 
the feet of the gods, but the saucy corners, and the up-tossed 
head betray something very akin to cynicism. 

We have a parallel in the world of letters. Shelley, the 
poet, was an iconoclast in his calmer moments, but he prayed 
earnestly to the Deity in an Alpine thunderstorm. The only 
difference is that the proportion of veneration and cynicism is 
reversed. It is said that Hardie made many cheap instruments 
of poor wood, with imitation purfling, in his early days. It is 
quite possible, though I have never seen any poor instruments 
of his make. Most great makers have turned out indifferent 
work at one period or another of their life. Art is very much 
the creature of circumstances, and bears her dignity according 
as these smile or frown. There are artists living among us 
to-day who are capable of great things, but who are too poor 
to buy timber for the fashioning of their idols. They may 
see the god in the tree, as Michael Angelo saw his " David " 
in the rough slab of marble, but neither the right tree nor the 
right stone is always to be had for the asking. Hardie was 
evidently badly off for timber at more than one period of his 
life, if the story of the nail-marked wood be true. There is 
nothing very artistic about nail-holes, and little of value about 
weather-beaten, half-rotten paling slabs to make them desirable 
for fiddle-wood. Many, perhaps the majority, of Hardie's 
backs are very plain, but I have seen a few with exceedingly 
handsome and well-marked wood, cut so that the curl ran at 
a moderate inclination (vide illustration). The button is 
usually rather longer and more oval than the buttons 
of Amati or Stradivari. The sound-holes in the Stradivari 
copies are a trifle short ; the exact length in a specimen 
recently examined by me being 2^f in. The holes also did 
not recline so much, and the distance between them at the 
upper turns was about if in. His margins are moderately 
full, but the edges are not always so strong as they should be. 
The modern taste has improved upon the classical practice in 
respect to the edges. Nowadays, in high-class work, the 


edges are left stronger and withal delicately rounded a 
custom which is much to be commended from the point of 
view of utility, and not to be deprecated artistically. Hardie's 
varnish is a spirit one, thinly laid on ; the colour is yellow 
dark yellow to yellowish-brown. The basis is probably nothing 
more than gamboge, or gamboge and aloes, which in process of 
time is oxidised almost black, according to the nature of the 
menstrua and the method of application. Hardie's tone is 
good, even in his inferior instruments, and beautiful in his 
best. The inner strings are full and mellow, and the first 
string is sweet and silvery. The tone has a lingering echo 
which is pathetic and appealing. 

Hardie was an enthusiast in his art, and his enthusiasm 
was of the contagious sort. Quite a coterie of cultured men 
gathered around him, who became infected with the fiddle- 
making fever. Among them were Peter Hardie, of Dunkeld, 
his cousin and a student at the Edinburgh University, David 
Stirrat, John Blair, George M'George, Alexander Yoole the 
solicitor, and others. Matthew Hardie was himself an 
educated man, and his society was sought by these men as 
much on account of his refined wit as on account of his fiddle 
lore. Many a congenial hour did these men of like passions 
pass together in the atelier in Low Calton. What a pity the 
sympathetic brush of Sir Joshua was not there to trace on 
canvas those faces radiant with the joy of the fiddle, or the 
faithful pen of a Boswell to give posterity word-pictures of 
those unique personalities ! Labels : 



(2) MADE BY 



The last two figures in the date are handwritten. 


HARDIE, PETER, Dunkeld : 1775-1863. He was the 
son of Dr. Hardie, an army surgeon, and was born in 1775, 
probably abroad. He died in Nov. 1863, and was buried 
in Dowally churchyard, Perthshire. He is known as " High- 
land Hardie," and was a man of unique personality and great 
physique. His model is a compromise between that of Amati 
and Stainer. He sometimes followed the lines of his cousin, 
Matt. Hardie, but he generally exaggerated his arch. The 
tone is usually excellent. No label, but simply stamped under 
the button : 


HARDIE, THOMAS, Edinburgh: 1800-58. He was 
the son of the great Matt. Hardie, and possessed many of the 
fine qualities of his father. I have seen only three of his 
violins, in which the workmanship was beautiful, but the tone 
very inferior. There is not the slightest doubt that he 
artificially seasoned his wood, hence the immense disparity 
between the workmanship and the tone. His work has 
received high praise from no less an authority than the late 
Charles Reade, but I cannot endorse any of the sentiments 
of the great connoisseur as regards Thomas Hardie's tone. 
I have heard better in many a common factory fiddle. The 
workmanship may be faultless, but if the "vital spark" 
the tone be vile, the instrument deserves any name but that 
of "violin." Hardie had many rare gifts, but self-restraint 
does not appear amongst them. He met with his death 
through an accident, Jan. 19, 1858, whilst in a state of intoxi- 
cation. Label : 


HARE, JOHN, London : about 1700. Work resembles 
that of Urquhart. Label : 


HARE, JOSEPH, London : 1700-40. He made some 

(In the Collection of Mr. C.' CLOSE, Dagmar Lodge) 


splendid instruments on the lines of Stradivari, the varnish 
being of excellent quality. Label : 



LONDON, 1728 

HARKHAM, , London : 1765-85. 

HARRIS, CHARLES, London and Adderbury : 1780- 
1800. He worked in Cannon Street Road, Ratcliffe High- 
way. I have seen one undoubtedly genuine Stradivari copy of 
his make, which had a golden-red varnish of excellent quality, 
and bore his label. The workmanship and tone were beau- 
tiful, justifying his being placed, in my estimation, very high 
in the foremost rank of British makers. He foolishly sold his 
birthright for a mess of meat, *.*. he sold his instruments 
unlabelled to the trade, and thus robbed himself of the credit 
which he ought to have got for excellent work. His violon- 
cellos were highly prized and eagerly bought in his lifetime. 
The Stradivari copy which I saw was of full proportions, 
with a whole back, and the curl inclining to the right. The 
pine was as fine as any I have ever seen, with a " reed " of 
narrow and regular width. The scroll was carved with a 
masterly hand, and the sound- holes beautifully designed, but 
just a trifle wide, perhaps. The margin was full, and the 
edges strong and nicely rounded, with a moderately pro- 
nounced ridge midway between the purfling and the extreme 
edge. The tone was round and mellow. The magnificent 
viola illustrated here is the property of C. Close, Esq., Dagmar 
Lodge, Leeds, and shows work which is thoroughly Italian in 
feeling. The varnish on this instrument is of a dark amber 
colour, very fine in quality. Labels : 


LONDON, 1791 




HARRIS, CHARLES, London : 1795-1820. Son and 
apprentice of his father, Charles Harris, sen. He worked for 
John Hart for some time. Very good work, but it is not to 
be compared with that of his father. 

HART, JOHN THOMAS, London : 1805-74. He 
was born on Dec. 17, 1805, and died Jan. i, 1874. He 
became a pupil of Samuel Gilkes in 1820. He did not make 
many instruments, but attained great reputation as a repairer 
and connoisseur. He brought together many remarkable 
collections of Italian instruments, such as the Goding, the 
Plowden, and a large part of the Gillot, &c. I have never 
seen an instrument of his make, and cannot say whether he 
followed the lines of his master, or more closely those of 
Amati or Stradivari. Label : 



LONDON, 18- 

HART, GEORGE & SON, London, contemporary. 
Mr. George Hart, of 28 Wardour Street, London, W., was 
born near Warwick on January 4, 1860. He is the son of 
the late Mr. George Hart, the expert of European reputation, 
and author of works on the violin, &c., and whose portrait we 
are able (through the courtesy of the subject of this sketch) to 
reproduce in the present work. Mr. Hart was educated at 
Grove House, Highgate, under the tutorship of the Rev. Mr. 
Tough. This same Mr. Tough was a pupil of the great 
Dr. Chalmers, of Disruption fame. Having gone the usual 
round at Highgate, young Hart was sent to Paris to finish his 
studies. Afterwards he entered the establishment at Wardour 
Street, where he has since remained worthily maintaining the 
supreme dignity of the house. 


On June 17, 1882, he was married, at Highgate, to Miss 
Katherine Jepson de Betham, daughter of John de Betham, 
by whom he has had two daughters, named Katharine and 
Irene, and one son named Frank. He employs a large number 
of experienced English and French workmen, and the firm 
turns out annually a considerable number of instruments. 
Some of the instruments, in point of tone, workmanship, and 
varnish, are chefs d'azuvre, and will worthily replace the old 
classical instruments when Cremona is no longer known save 
in the dusty pages of history. 

The personal supervision and genius of Mr. Hart is evident 
in every branch of the work. In nothing is this more evident 
than in the choice of wood. 

The late Charles Reade, I think it was, who said that 
the giants of the forests whence the maestros had their wood 
are all gone. I doubt the truth of this very much. Some 
of the wood obtained to-day (and it is not all, or nearly 
all, obtained from the old Swiss chalets) is equal to that 
used two centuries ago. One need only examine and try 
some of Mr. Hart's finer fiddles to prove the accuracy of 
my contention. 

In saying this I do not depreciate Hero Worship. What 
I would like to cry down is the narrow cult which would 
bind a Nessus robe around modern gods, and forbid freedom 
save to a handful of Cremonese deities. I know that I am 
talking heresy, and the school to which Mr. Hart belongs will 
be the first to give my effusions a cosy little corner in their index 
expurgatorius. Be it so ! My cnroKwyia is the instruments to 
which I refer. 

Mr. Hart makes a feature of facsimile reproductions of 
classical gems. I recently examined one of these, which 
was an exact copy of the famous Joseph Guarneri, known 
as "The D'Egville Joseph," owned by Mr. Hart. This 
copy is so close an imitation that it is almost impossible 
to distinguish it from the original. The imitation, it is 
pleasing to note, is not merely superficial, the tone also 
approximates to that of Guarneri in a degree that is bound 


to astonish the most exacting ear. The label put into this 
instrument is as follows : 





O' MAKERS. -&(^.&- 

28.Wardour Street, W 
18 LONDON . 

This is a facsimile of Mr. Hart's ordinary label : 

The varnish is remarkably like that on the original, both 
in colour and in pate. The author pointed this out to Mr. 
Hart, and endeavoured to probe his " inner consciousness " on 
the varnish question, but our subject could not be "drawn." 
He is remarkably reticent, as he is remarkably unostentatious. 
This is exemplified by the fact that he has never exhibited any 
of his instruments, and he has never permitted his portrait to 
be published, though he has been hard pressed to do so by keen 
admirers and hungry editors. It is beatific in this highly con- 
ventional age to come across a genuinely unostentatious person, 
for even genius has learnt latterly how to wed itself to cant. 

The high-class instruments of Hart's own make (" Hart 
and Son's special make") are sold violins at twenty-five 
guineas, violas at thirty guineas, and 'cellos at fifty guineas. 
These are of the finest material procurable. Others, which 


are of a different class in material, but not in work, are sold at 
various prices (vide catalogue). " Tone determines the price " 
is Mr. Hart's rule. 

Messrs. Hart have made a great feature of case work in 
recent years. Many of the cases they have made are of 
exceptional beauty, some of satin wood, inlaid and exquisitely 
painted with various designs ; others are richly carved, with 
silver mountings. The makers themselves have spent as much 
as jCjO and 80 on a single case. Case work has been elevated 
by Mr. Hart to a fine art. We heard an eminent connoisseur 
say the other day that it was about as wise to spend a lot 
of money on grand cases as it was to spend it on grand coffins. 
We think, however, that it is quite proper that the aristocracy 
in fiddle life should dwell in fitting mansions. 

It is pretty generally known, I think, that the subject 
of our sketch is a fiddle expert of the highest prestige. His 
opportunities, though not quite of the Brobdingnagian pro- 
portions of those of Tarisio, have been immense. Nearly all 
the famous instruments of the world have passed through his 
hands needless to mention, the "Dolphin," "Betts," "Em- 
peror," "Paganini," Stradivaris, &c. ; the "Leduc," " Vieux- 
temps," Guarneris, &c., &c. Mr. Hart's present collection is 
a very large one, consisting of several fine specimens of all the 
chief makers. In addition to his vast knowledge gained from 
personal connoisseurship, he has reaped the benefit of superior 
wisdom at the start, when, for several years, he was closely 
associated with his father in every branch of the work. 

Mr. Hart has in preparation a new, enlarged, and revised 
edition of his father's well-known work on the violin. He 
also contemplates issuing a work containing coloured plates of 
the most famous specimens of Stradivari and Guarneri in exist- 
ence. He recently published a life of Count Cozio di Salabue 
by Federico Sacchi, edited by his great friend, A. Towry 
Piper. In this most interesting work, the editor and publisher 
have committed the fatal blunder of giving an untranslated 
appendix (which appendix, by the way, is considerably longer 
than the body of the work), and thus giving what is to all 


intents and purposes a sealed book to English readers. For, 
although seventy or eighty per cent, of those interested in 
fiddle literature can probably read any work with tolerable 
ease in French or German, we doubt if ten per cent, can 
manage to wade through the Italian. We hope Mr. Hart will 
take the hint and give us another edition of Count Cozio. 

HARVIE, ROBERT, contemporary. 
HAWKES, , Coventry : eighteenth century. 

HAYNES & CO., London, contemporary. Chiefly 

HAYNES, JACOB, London : c. 1750. He made fairly 
good copies of Stainer. Label : 



is the son of the late John Knowles Heaps, of Leeds, and was 
born in January 1854. He commenced to study the violin at 
an early age, under Mr. Whittaker, of Leeds, and later he 
continued his studies under the late George Haddock. He 
made rapid progress and gave fair promise to become one 
of the leading English violinists, but the love of violin con- 
struction very early outgrew the love of violin music. He 
was apprenticed to Handel Pickard, Leeds, in 1869, with 
whom he remained until the end of 1874, after which time he 
was for over two years in his father's workshop. In 1875, he, 
along with his father, exhibited a quartette of instruments at 
the Leeds Exhibition, for which a prize medal and certificate 
were awarded. During the time he was with his father he 
made several instruments which were of excellent workman- 

Shortly after this period Mr. Heaps accepted an appointment 
in Sydney as manager of the musical department of a wholesale 



house. After remaining with this firm for a time his business 
as a violin-maker and repairer increased to such an extent that 
he found it necessary to devote the whole of his time to the 
profession. During the latter part of his apprenticeship with 
Pickard, and previous to leaving Leeds to go to Sydney, he 
had many very valuable instruments entrusted to him for 
repairs, and his neat workmanship soon gained him a re- 
putation in this particular branch of the profession. Since he 
went to Sydney his skill as a repairer has become favourably 
known throughout the whole of Australia and New Zealand, 
although he never advertises. 

During the past fourteen or fifteen years he has made 
many violins, which have been sold for 20 to 25 each, 
violoncellos from 35 to 42. One of the latter was made to 
the order of the late Mr. Edgar Straus in 1891, and was used 
by him as his solo instrument during the whole of the time he 
was resident in Sydney. Mr. Heaps executed some important 
repairs for Ovid Musm when the latter was on an artistic 
tour in Sydney some few years ago. 

In the manufacture of all his instruments he uses only the 
best material. He has in his possession a fine stock of syca- 
more, some of which has been preserved since about 1828. 
Of pine for bellies he also possesses a large stock, including a 
quantity which was exhibited as music wood at the great 
Exhibition in London, and purchased from Messrs. Beinhardt 
and Son, of Bohemia. (See Official Catalogue, Class x. No. 510.) 
He also keeps portions of all the material used by his father in 
the manufacture of instruments made during his life which 
embraces various textures of wood so that whatever in- 
strument comes to him for renovation, he has no difficulty in 
matching the material. Mr. Heaps boasts of possessing a 
stock of wood large enough to suffice him for making violins 
as long as he lives, but he still continues to purchase as 
opportunity offers, to keep up his stock, so that at his demise 
he may be able to bequeath to his son (who is intended to 
follow the profession) whatever may be then unused. 

He follows his father's model, reduced to 14 inches. He 


keeps a record of the dimensions and thicknesses of all in- 
struments made by his father or himself, and also of any 
valuable ones which pass through his hands for repairs, so that 
he is able to produce, when requested, new instruments after 
any model. His varnish is an oil one, of various colours. 
His instruments, both as regards tone and workmanship, rank 
in the first class. 

Up to the time of writing, a copy of his label has not come 
to hand. 

HEAPS, JOHN KNOWLES, Leeds: nineteenth century. 
Father of the above. He made excellent instruments, which 
will be more valued as time goes on. 

HEATON, WILLIAM, Gomersal, contemporary. He 
was born October 6, 1827, at Hill Top, Gomersal. He is the 
son of James and Hannah Heaton, of Gomersal, and was 
brought up by his grandparents, Joseph and Sarah Lister, till 
he was about nine years of age, at a little out-wing of his 
native village called humorously the World's End, on account 
of its outlandishness. He received elementary education till 
he was about eleven, at which early age he commenced work 
with his father as a joiner and cabinet-maker. Both his father 
and grandfather were excellent workmen, and especially the 
latter, who was very deft at turning out small and curious 
articles of cabinet work. Joseph Lister also made one 'cello, 
of the Stainer model, and a very fair instrument it is. This 
instrument it was that first fired the imagination of young 
Heaton, and induced him to make his first instrument in 
his fifteenth year : it was a fiddle of no particular outline 
or model, but a pardonable effort. Shortly after he made a 
'cello, which was a greater success. His next instrument was 
not made till he was forty-five years of age. This was a fiddle 
having its back, ribs, neck, and scroll carved out of a solid 
piece of sycamore. Since 1892 Heaton has been constantly 
at work as a regular maker. Up to the present he has 
made 156 violins, two violas, and eight 'cellos. He is a 
slow, patient worker, and turns out only about six instruments 



in the year. These more especially those of his later period 
are of the highest artistic merit, and for tonal qualities 
not easily surpassed. 

He works on various lines, but chiefly on those of Strad. 
The work is not, however, a slavish imitation : it has un- 
mistakable marks of originality about it. He has breathed 
Strad's breath of life into the copies, but the body is not 
exactly that of Antonio. The measurements of the violins 
of his best period are as follows : 

Length of body 14^ inches. 

Width acrosi upper bouts .... 6y 

middle bouts . . . 4^5- 

lower bouts . . . . 8 T V 

Depth of ribs at bottom . . . . i 

top .... i^ 

Length of sound-holes .... 3 

Distance between sound-holes at top . . i^- 

Highest elevation above symmetrical plane 

back . . . . . . IT 

Highest elevation above symmetrical plane 

belly | 

The outline is pure, bold, and of masculine rather than 
feminine qualities. It is grand and awe-inspiring rather than 
pretty and captivating. The arching is of extended equality, 
after the style of Maggini. The scroll is a fine piece of work, 
and is fairly large and well-proportioned. The distance between 
boss-edge and boss-edge is ly^-in. The grooving at the last 
turn of the volute is more protracted and terminates nearer 
the centre of the axis than is usual in copies of Italian work. 
This is a very noticeable and picturesque feature of the side 
of many of Heaton's scrolls. The peg-box is wide and strong 
in wood a very wise provision. The button is of full 
proportions, and could never be better made. The sound- 
holes are after Stradivari, except that the curve describing 
the upper and lower wings is not so pronounced as in those 
of Strad's golden period. The inlaying of the purfle is 


perfection. The margin is of medium width, and the edges 
strong, rounded, and raised. In his early work Heaton 
raised the edges nearly an eighth, but in his best work there 
is no exaggeration. In a specimen now before me the edges 
are raised a sixteenth, nicely rounded, thawing with a smile 
into the gentle bed of the purfling. 

The wood is of excellent quality. The pine of a speci- 
men recently examined by me was equal to the best I have 
seen. The curl of the maple in all the Heaton fiddles 
which I have seen was of medium width and very regular. 
It would appear as though all these backs had been cut from 
the same piece of maple some on the quarter, and some 
whole. The backs of the last six riddles have been taken from 
a maple plank which was seasoned in the Gomersal Church 
Bell tower, and the instruments have been " christened " the 
"Tower" fiddles. Mr. Heaton has made one fiddle which 
he calls the " Gouge." It derives its name from the fact 
that it has been finished entirely, both inside and outside, with 
the gouge ; neither sand-paper nor the file having touched 
the wood. Another, on the Guarnerius model, is called the 
"Patchwork," and is made of various kinds of violin wood. 
All the Heaton instruments are well stocked with wood. 
The last fiddle, made a short time since, turned the scales 
at eighteeen ounces and a half in the " white." 

Mr. Heaton's violoncellos are spoken of very highly. No 
less an authority than Mr. Arthur Broadley considers them 
to be among the very best work of modern times. A violon- 
cello made to his order, and named the " Chats " in compli- 
ment to the popular work on 'cello playing, is said to possess 
a remarkable tone. The following rather lengthy quotation 
is from a letter of Mr. Broadley's to me anent this instrument. 

" The instrument is of original model, and although one 
looks to the great Italian masters for perfection of outline and 
model, yet the 'cello under notice does not suffer through 
comparison with classical instruments. 

"Perhaps the maker more than any which the model 
suggests is Banks, the great English maker, and I think I am 


right in asserting that the earlier 'cello of Mr. Heaton's make 
were copies of this maker, but the Chats ' 'cello is no copy 
of any instrument or any maker, but the child of Mr. Heaton's 
own fancy. The outline is bold yet artistic, and the model 
is what one would describe as compact ; there does not seem 
to be any waste places everything has been nicely calculated 
and the whole effect is very fine. The purfling, which is 
placed rather further away from the edge than usual, assists in 
giving a boldness to the outline which is very satisfying ; but 
if one must look for originality, pray look at the curves of the 
inner bouts, the relative width of the waist, and the cut and 
placing of the f holes. Of the latter, the straight-cut, broad 
wings are a feature Guarnerius magnified. So beautifully 
balanced are the/'s that this extreme width of the wings is 
not at the first glance observable, but one looks and wonders 
how an old man long past the prime of life has had the skill 
to cut such clearly defined lines. Purpose that should have 
been the name of the 'cello, not * Chats.' 

"The whole design of the instrument is characteristic of 
a man who has lived his life among the breezy freshness of the 
Yorkshire hills. 

" The wood is very fine, well chosen, old, and well-seasoned. 
The belly is made of rather open-grained pine, of fine tone- 
producing qualities ; the back and ribs are of extremely 
beautifully-figured sycamore. The back is in the whole 
piece and is made from wood cut on the slab. In this case 
the effect is very beautiful. The figure is best described as 
being like moir silk. The grain, which is very peculiar, 
shows up like the * water-marks ' in the said material, and the 
flames seem to ' shimmer ' from every part of the surface. 

"The tone of the instrument is exceedingly fine, very 
brilliant and plentiful. One great feature of the instrument 
is the fine quality of the A string, which to a soloist is of the 
utmost importance, and the higher up the string one plays, 
the more brilliant does the tone become. This is so different 
from the usual run of modern 'cellos, which are generally thin 
in the higher positions of the A string. The tone of the 


instrument at every part of its register is very even, and it is 
the opinion of several professional friends who have seen and 
heard the ' Chats ' 'cello, that a finer instrument could not be 
produced. It is varnished a brilliant orange brown." 

The value of the 'cello as it stands is placed by Mr. Broad- 
ley at 50, although Mr. Heaton generally charges from 20 
to 30 for 'cellos. 

The 'cello, besides bearing the maker's label, has the 
following inscription : 

" CHATS." j 

Built to the order of 



etc., etc. 

by Win. HEATON, Gomersal 1900. 

The dimensions are as follows : 

Width across top ..... i j| inches. 

middle 9 

bottom . . . iy 

Width of ribs, top ..... 4 

bottom . . 4 | (good) 

Length of /'s ..... 5| 

Width between f\ at top . . 4 J 

Length of body ..... 29^ 

vibrating string . . . z6f 

A front view of this fine 'cello is shown in the illustration. 
The following is a facsimile of the label usually used : 




Nr. Leeds. 

(Fecit 1900) 


HEESOM, EDWARD, London, contemporary: 1 745-55. 
Stainer model ; indifferent work. Label : 


HENDERSON, DAVID, Aberdeen : nineteenth century. 
Very poor work and tone. 

HESKETH, THOMAS EARLE, Manchester, contem- 
porary. He is the son of William and Amelia Hastings Hesketh, 
and was born in Manchester on August 14, 1866. His work- 
shop is at 23 Lower Mosley Street. His mother's maiden 
name was Hilton, and both his parents were descendants ot 
old Lancashire families. He was educated in the Board and 
Higher Grade Schools of his native city. He was apprenticed 
to Mr. G. A. Chanot, and the indentures were drawn up on 
April 6, 1885. He remained as apprentice for five years and 
as journeyman for one year. In 1891 he commenced business 
on his own account, and he has remained since at the above 
address. He was married on Nov. 2, 1889, at St. James' 
Church, Moss Side, to Miss Sarah Grace Yates. The offspring 
of their union are : Ross Grace, Tom, Florence Gertrude, 
Lillian Jane, and Dorothy Yates. 

He works on each of the following models : Strad, Joseph, 
Amati, Ruggeri, Stainer, and Maggini, but copies the two 
first principally. He at one time worked also on two original 
models, which he has now discarded, as they were on the small 
side. A third original model of his, of fuller proportions, is 
successful and gives splendid results. Its dimensions are : 

Length of body 14 inches. 

Width acros* upper bouts .... 6^ 

middle bouts . . . 4^ 

lower bouts .... SJ$ 

Length of inner bouts from corner to corner 5^ ,, 

Length of sound-hole 3^ 

Distance between sound-holes at upper turns i 

Height of ribs i inches, diminishing to . i^ 


Two noticeable features of this model are the Dholes and 
the button. The former are a slight modification of the 
Brescian type, and the latter is not of the usual form, but 

Mr. Hesketh has made several magnificent copies of an 
A. and H. Amati viola. One of these which I examined 
recently was made to the order of Mr. Rawdon Briggs, of 
Hallo's, the Brodsky, and other quartettes. It is of large size, 
and considered by its owner a superb instrument. Its dimen- 
sions are : 

Length i6| inches. 

Width, top ?| 

centre 5i 

bottom 9| 

( Depth of bottom ribs . . . . i -j^- ,, 
( Diminished by inch at top. 

Besides the violas on the A. and H. Amati model, he has 
made one on the Strad model, 15! in., one Ruggeri, i6 in., 
and one Maggini, 15$ in. He has made only two 'cellos, 
Strad model. The total number of instruments made up to 
date is fifty-five, exclusive of a number of three-quarter size 
fiddles, made to order. 

Mr. Hesketh's wood is of excellent quality. He possesses 
a considerable quantity which was formerly the property of 
Craske. This latter maker is said to have bought his wood at 
Forster's sale. The maple of two fiddles examined by me 
was somewhat plain in figure, but magnificent for its tonal 
properties. In one viola the curl was of medium width and 
of mathematical regularity. In another fiddle the wood had 
a broad "flame" of unsurpassable beauty. The pine is of 
straight grain, moderately narrow in " reed," and acoustically 
perfect. The backs in the Amati copies are usually cut on 
the slab, and those in the Strad and Joseph copies are, as a 
rule, either whole or joined. 

The workmanship, varnish, and tone of Hesketh combine 
to give his instruments a place among the Mite of modern pro- 


ductions, and a high seat even amongst the mighty. A brief 
description of a typical example of his work will suffice. This 
is a Vuillaume-Strad copy. The outline is very pure, and the 
modelling beautiful. The lines of the back are gracefulness 
itself. The gentle slope of the arching, as it melts into the 
margins, is like the swell of the well-chiselled breast of a 
goddess. The margins are moderately wide, and the edges 
full and rounded. The corners are full and piquant. The 
scroll and sound-holes both show the master mind and the 
cunning hand. The former is in the true Stradivarian spirit, 
although, perhaps, to be severely correct, the slope of the 
volute in its departure from the boss is not of the same angle, 
and the boss itself is in greater relief. The purfling is laid in 
without the suspicion of a tremor. The varnish is a rich, 
soft, dark, golden amber. It lights up the "flame" of the 
wood, which appears like watered silk seen through a film of 
stained glass. The tone is large, rich, and responsive. Hes- 
keth uses both oil and spirit varnishes, of his own composition, 
and in all the usual colours. 

The work is nearly all personal. One journeyman, named 
Robert Elliot Keen, is employed. Keen has been with Hes- 
keth six years (five years as apprentice), and is an excellent and 
steady workman. He hails from Brompton, the birthplace of 
the Forsters. Another workman, named Georges Boulangeot, 
of Mirecourt, was employed for about two years, but he left 
in 1898. Mr. Hesketh repairs very extensively. So many 
old instruments come to him for repair that he is prevented 
from producing many new ones. 
fr His prices are : 

Violins .... 12, I2s. and ^15, 158. 

Violas 15, 153. 

'Cellos 25 guineas. 

Mr. Hesketh plays well on both the violin and viola. He 
has recently organised a series of quartette concerts, at which 
the Rawdon Briggs and other quartettes are the executants. 
These quartettes are supplied with instruments made by him, 


and one of the objects of the concerts is to test and to demon- 
strate the worth of instruments of the modern British school. 
Facsimile label : 

Thomas Earfe Hesketh 
Manchester Fecit 19004 

HIGSON, DANIEL, Ashton-on-Ribble, contemporary. 
He was born at Droylsden, near Manchester, August 13, 
1849. He is the eldest son of John and Elizabeth Caroline 
Higson. His father was an antiquarian of considerable repute, 
and stained glass windows are erected to his memory at St. 
Mary's Church, Droylsden, and at St. Thomas's Church, 
Leesfield. Higson has made several instruments on an 
original model. The workmanship is rather rough, but it is 
not without character, and the tone of one violin which I tried 
was very fair. Higson has travelled a great deal, and he is a 
well-read man. He is an ardent sportsman, and an authority 
on wild fowl. He has published a book entitled " Sea-fowl 
Shooting Sketches," which is of high merit and exceedingly 
interesting. He builds his own canoes, makes gun-stocks, &c. 
In short, he is so many-sided that he can never hope to excel 
in the exacting art of violin-making. Facsimile label : 

HILL, HENRY LOCKEY, London : 1774-1835. He 
was the son of Lockey Hill, the grandson of Joseph Hill, and 
the father of the world-renowned William Ebsworth Hill. 
He was a pupil of his father, and he worked for some time 
with John Betts. Later he became partner with his brothers 
in his father's firm, and contributed largely by his excellent 


work to make the name of " Hill " one of the greatest fiddle 
names in all Britain. The workmanship and tone are mag- 
nificent sufficiently so to furnish the forger with an excuse 
to extract the label (if there were one) and inserting another 
bearing a more favoured name. I have seen more than one 
Lockey Hill violoncello in this country carrying an Italian 
" passport." A renowned 'cello player uses at the present 
moment a Henry Lockey Hill instrument with a Stradivari 
label. It is of the same measurements as the Strad 'cello sent 
by Friedrich Wilhelm III. of Prussia to John Belts in 1810, 
to be sold in this country. In all respects it is a perfect copy, 
except as regards the varnish and the purfling. The varnish, 
although of excellent quality, and a close imitation, is not to 
be compared with that of Stradivari. The purfling is care- 
fully inlaid, but not in the manner of the original. Any one 
examining the mitring at the corners will perceive the differ- 
ence. Careful analysis and comparison of this specimen with 
other Henry Lockey Hill violoncellos reveal the identity of 
style. Some years ago I saw a violin by this maker, made on 
the Amati model, with a slab back of beautiful figure, which 
had a dulcet tone. The colour of the varnish resembled the 
brownish-purple tint of the bark of the birch tree in autumn. 
Hill frequently used a light-coloured varnish, which is per- 
fectly transparent and very elastic. I have seen only one of 
his violas, which was on a modified Amati model, with a 
widened waist, and not over-pronounced arching. The 
tone was large and deep on the lower strings, and clear 
and incisive on the upper ones. The scroll was in the 
Italian style, free and easy, and the sound-holes " clean " and 
graceful. The varnish on this instrument was of a pinkish 
tint, laid on thinly and nicely polished. Altogether the work 
of Hill is exceedingly fine, and it is a great pity there is not 
more of it. 

HILL, JOSEPH, London: 1715-84. He worked at 
"Ye Harp and Hautboy," in Piccadilly, London, under 
Peter Wamsley, where he was a fellow-apprentice with 
Benjamin Banks. He worked also in various other places, 



and was assisted by his sons, William, Joseph, Lockey, and 
Benjamin. I have not seen any of his instruments, but his 
violoncellos and double-basses are highly praised. Mr. Arthur 
Broadley uses a small-sized Joseph Hill violoncello in his solo 
playing at present. 

HILL, WILLIAM, London : 1740-80. I have not, to 
my knowledge, seen any of his work. 

HILL, WILLIAM EBSWORTH, London: 1817-95. 
One of the greatest names in fiddle lore. Full justice has 
been done to his life and work in the very able sketch by the 
late Rev. H. R. Haweis, in "Old Violins," to which the 
reader is referred. 

HILL & SONS, London, contemporary. The present 
members of the firm are the four sons of the great Wil- 
liam Ebsworth, viz. : William Henry, born June 3, 1857 ; 
Arthur Frederick, born Jan. 25, 1860 ; Alfred Ebsworth, 
born Feb. 1862; and Walter Edgar, born Nov. 4, 1871. 
The reputation of the firm is world-wide, and the several works 
published by the Messrs. Hill, including their life of Stradivari, 
are too well-known to call for any comment here. 

HIRCUT, , London: 1600. 

HOLLOWAY, JOHN, London : 1775-95. He worked 
at 31 Gerard Street, Soho. Indifferent work. 

HOPKINS, , Worcester : nineteenth century. A 

fair workman, but he artificially seasoned his wood, and thus 
robbed himself of all future credit. 

A maker of lutes and viols. 

HUDSON, GEORGE, Skegness, contemporary. He 
is the son of Richard Hudson, better known in Lancashire as 
" Dick o' New-laith," a famous fiddler, and was born at 


Goodshawfold, Rossendale Valley, on Feb. 27, 1859. He 
has received a good elementary education, and has taken up 
chemistry latterly as a hobby. He has made up to date about 
one hundred violins, and a few violoncellos and double-basses. 
He follows various models, and the workmanship is good and 

HUME, CHARLES DAVID, Hawthorn, Melbourne, 
contemporary. He is a native of Liverpool, and emigrated 
to Australia about ten years ago, where he follows the musical 
profession, and makes violins as a hobby. He obtained a 
Diploma of Merit for a case of violins at the Bendigo Exhibi- 
tion held last year. I have not seen any of his work, and 
therefore cannot give further particulars. 

HUME, RICHARD, Edinburgh : c. 1530-35. A famous 
viol and lute maker. 


IRESON, FRANK HERBERT, Bishop Auckland, 
contemporary. He was born at Croydon, on Oct. 26, 1868. 
He is a pianoforte-tuner and repairer by trade, and makes 
violins during spare moments. He follows the model and 
dimensions of Walter H. Mayson, and turns out a nice 
instrument. The tone is of a bright, pleasing quality. 

JAMIESON, THOMAS, Aberdeen : 1830-45. Good 
work and tone. 

1840-60. Pupil of William Booth, jun. Average work and 

JAY, HENRY, London: c. 1615-67. A maker of 
viols. His work is considered excellent, but I am not ac- 
quainted with it and cannot therefore offer any remarks. 


JAY, HENRY, London : 1746-68. A maker of "Kits" 
chiefly. The workmanship is very neat, and the varnish of 
good quality. The tone of one of these " Kits " which I saw 
a few years since was clear and sweet. Jay is said to have 
received 5 for each " Kit " that he sold a sum which is 
equivalent to nearly .10 to-day. This is hardly credible, 
seeing that Banks and Duke got only 6 for their best 

Jay made many violoncellos for Longman and Broderip. 

The label in the " Kit " which I saw and tried read : 




JAY, THOMAS, London: c. 1690. Made a few 
excellent violins. 

JOHNSON, JOHN, London : 1750-60. Average work, 
on the Stainer model. The tone, although not large, is clear 
and penetrating. A very high-arched violin, with thin, dry, 
yellow varnish bore the following label : 


17 LONDON 55 

JONES, , Barnstaple, contemporary. I have not 

seen any of his work. 

JONES, JOHN, Port Dinorwic, contemporary. He was 
born in Carnarvon, on Feb. 17, 1833. He is a plasterer by 
trade, and makes fiddles en amateur. The workmanship is 
very fair, considering that he only took up the gouge very late 
in life. The wood is plain, but the tone is of a good quality. 
Jones is a " Cymro " of the old stamp, and a very genuine 
" character." He has played the violoncello for many years in 
the Parish Church, Llanfairisgaer, and the author hopes to 


give a fuller sketch of his life as a " famous fiddler " in another 


KELMAN, JAMES, Aberchirder : nineteenth century. 
Commonplace work and tone. 

KENDAL, GEORGE, , contemporary. 

KENNEDY, ALEXANDER, London: 1695-1785. 
Very fair work on the Stainer model. Label : 



KENNEDY, JOHN, London : 1730-1816. A nephew 
of Alexander Kennedy. Indifferent work. 

KENNEDY, THOMAS, London: 1784-1870. He 
was a prolific maker, and turned out at least two thousand 
instruments of all sizes. The workmanship is good all over, 
but the tone is not of equal merit, being often harsh and 
metallic. A violin with a birch back and yellow varnish had 
the following label : 

LONDINI, 1860 

LAUGHER, WILLIAM, Redditch, contemporary. 
He was born at Studley, in Warwickshire, in the year 1830. 
He is a manufacturer of steel and plated pins by trade, and 
makes violins as a hobby. His work is neat and well-finished, 
and the tone, although not large, is of a good quality. He 
follows various models, and uses oil varnish of different colours. 
He has made about fifty violins and a few violas. The wood 


is carefully selected for its acoustic properties. Facsimile 
label : 

LEWIS, EDWARD, London: 1695-1730. A mag- 
nificent maker, whose work is very rare. In the course of 
twenty-five years' connoisseurship I have seen only one of his 
violins, which was on a model approximating to that of 
Maggini. In this instrument, wood, workmanship, and tone 
combined to give the maker a high position in the front rank 
of our early makers. The varnish was an oil one, of a rich 
golden-red colour, perfectly transparent, and soft as velvet to 
the touch. The tone on the higher strings was beautifully 
clear and brilliant. I have never heard of a violin of his on 
the Stainer model, and I do not think he copied that maker at 
all. Judging from the single instance referred to, I do not 
think his taste would allow him to imitate the German high 

No label of his is known. 

LIGHT, EDWARD, London: 1780-1805. A lute 
and harp maker. He made a few violins also. One of these, 
indifferently made, had the following label : 


LONDON, 1797 

LINDSAY, , Newcastle-on-Tyne, contemporary. 

I know nothing of him. 

LINDSAY, DAVID, Brechin, contemporary. He is 
reported to be a good maker, but I have not seen any of his 
work, He follows the Maggini model. 


LINDSAY, MICHAEL H., Stockton-on-Tees, con- 
temporary. He was born in Ireland on April 12, 1837. He 
has been a professional violin-maker for nearly forty years. 
He follows the Stradivarius model, using handsome wood and 
a fine varnish. I have seen only one of his instruments, 
which was well made and had a rather small but very sweet 
tone. M. Polonaski has tried some of this maker's violins, 
and reports very favourably on their tonal qualities. The 
Messrs. Balfour, the violin experts, say with regard to his 
varnish that it "should rank among the highest of the 
varnishes now in use, being Cremona-like in style." Whilst 
unable to endorse all that these experts say in this matter, I 
unhesitatingly add that the varnish is of an excellent quality. 
But it is impossible to form just conclusions either as to work- 
manship or tone from the examination of a single specimen. 
Mr. Lindsay had a paralytic seizure some two years ago, and 
he is unable now to make new instruments, but has to con- 
fine himself to repairs. He won a medal for an exhibit of 
violins at the Liverpool Exhibition. He has made a large 
number of violins, violas, violoncellos, and double-basses. 

Facsimile label : 

Michael Lindsay, 

Stockton- on -Te e s ./i 

LISTER, JOHN, Leeds: 1720-30. Very ordinary 
Stainer copies. 

LOGAN, JOHN, Biggar, N.B., contemporary. He 
is an excellent amateur maker who has made and restored a 
large number of instruments. He follows the Joseph, Strad, 
and Maggini models. One violin which I examined was 
made on the Strad model with plates graduated after a 
Maggini instrument. The tone was large, rich, and free. 


He uses the Rev. Gordon Palmer's varnish, which he believes 
to be the best in the market. Label : 



ABINCTON, N.B., 1895 

LOMAX, JACOB, Bolton, contemporary. He was 
born in Bolton in 1850, and he makes and sells violins 
professionally at 1 1 Durham Street, in conjunction with his 
other and chief business, pawnbroking. He uses his own 
varnish, and turns out work which, in point of workmanship 
and tone, is of average merit. Facsimile label : 

LONGMAN & BRODERIP, London : 1750-73. They 
were instrument sellers, and not actually makers. Some of 
our chief classical makers disposed of their second-rate instru- 
ments to them, into which were inserted the firm's trade 


M'GEORGE, GEORGE, Edinburgh: 1796-1820. A 
pupil and follower of Matthew Hardie, who turned out 
excellent work. He followed the model of Stradivari chiefly, 
but Amati copies have been met with. He used a spirit 
varnish, which is of a slightly better quality than that of his 
master. The only undoubtedly genuine example of his work 
that I have seen bore no label. 

MAGHIE, JOHN FISHER, Dalston, contemporary. 
He was born on Nov. 1855, at Dalston. He received a good 
elementary education at the grammar school in his native 


place. He works on various models, and uses varnish of a 
red or brownish yellow colour. Facsimile label : 

John Jieher Jftaghit. 





M'GILL, JAMES CAMPBELL, Arran, contemporary. 
He was born in Loudoun, Ayrshire, in 1836. His instru- 
ments are well made, and possess a good round tone. Label : 

J. C. M'GILL, 

ARRAN, 1896 

M'INTOSH, JAMES, Blairgowrie : 1801-73. It ap- 
pears that he made good instruments, but I have not seen 
any of them and cannot say anything about his work. 

MACINTOSH, JOHN, Galston, N.B., contemporary. 
He was born where he now lives, at Strath Cottage, midway 
between Galston and Newmilnes places now become famous 
as the centres of the lace curtain industry of Scotland in 
the year 1853. With an inborn predilection for the fine 
arts in general, and for music in particular, his attention 
became at a very early age centred on the violin, and he 
learned first to love its rich and melodious tones by hearing 
it performed upon by a relative, who was a good player of 
Scottish reels and strathspeys. Mr. Macintosh is a gentleman 
amateur, and makes only from love of the instrument. He 
has made several violins of the orthodox type, but he also has 
experimented largely with the view of discovering the relation 
between form and sound. Some of his violins are decorated 
on the back with portraits of celebrities and landscape sceneries 
in oil colours. One of these is made throughout of oak which 
was taken from the roof of the old castle at Mauchline, said 



to be the house wherein Robert Burns was married to his 
" Bonnie Jean." When the Burns Memorial Museum at 
Mauchline was opened, the violin was presented to the pro- 
moters and gladly accepted by them as a relic worthy of a 
place in an institution founded in honour of the immortal 
poet. Another bears the portrait of Sir Walter Scott, and 
has the following ditty inscribed on the back inside : 

Hey diddle, diddle, 
Who made this fiddle ? 
I know, I know, 
Hey diddle, diddle, here is the riddle 

Where did the wood of this fiddle 


"Sir Lewis Morris," a decorated violin, made on original 
lines, has a large, round, and fluid tone. He uses Whitelaw's 
varnish, mostly in dark amber colour. In addition to violin- 
making, Mr. Macintosh writes much on antiquity and kindred 
subjects, and he has published one or two volumes of poetry. 

M'INTOSH, WILLIAM, Dundee, contemporary. He 
was born at Abernethy, in 1852. He follows the Stradivari 
model almost exclusively, and turns out excellent work both 
as regards tone and workmanship. The plates are left thick 
in wood, and the arching and edges" are gracefully finished. 
Facsimile label : 


10 Lorimer Street. Dundee, 

M'KENZIE, MALCOLM, Dumbarton, N.B., contem- 
porary. He was born at Burntisland, Fife, on Feb. 22, 1828. 
He made his first violin at the age of sixteen, since which 
time he has made continuously, and has turned out many 


violins and one violoncello. The workmanship and tone are 
of good average merit. Facsimile label : 


M'LAY, WILLIAM, Kincardine-on-Forth : 1815 . 

Work and tone very indifferent. 

M'NEILL, JOHN, Edinburgh, contemporary. He is 
reported to have made several beautiful instruments, but I 
have not seen any of his work. 

M'NEILL, WILLIAM, Edinburgh, contemporary. 
Average work and tone. 

M'NICOLL, ALEXANDER, Padanaram : nineteenth 
century. Indifferent. 

McSWAN, JOHN, Partick, contemporary. An amateur 
who has made about twenty violins of about average merit. 

MALLAS, ALEXANDER, Leith : 1826-91. He was 
a native of Aberdeenshire, and a trained millwright by trade. 
His instruments are well-finished, and possess a firm and ring- 
ing tone. 

MANN, JOHN ALEXANDER, Glasgow: 1810-89. 
He was born at Forfar, May 13, 1810, and died at Glasgow, 
April 30, 1889. Mann was a remarkable person in many 
respects, and in some unique. He was never more at home 
than when amongst curious machines, nor more at ease than 
when evolving mechanical intricacies. He was for many 
years the right-hand man of the conjurer, J. H. Anderson 
" The Wizard of the North." His mystical proclivities and 
love of the occult followed him to the atelier, if we are to 
believe the apocryphal revelations of a well-known author. 
I regret that careful investigation has led me to doubt the 
correctness of many of the tales anent the intercourse between 


him and Vuillaume, and I prefer to leave these, however idyllic 
their character, severely alone. 

The few instruments attributed to Mann which I have had 
the fortune to see were not calculated to rouse the connoisseur 
into ecstatic utterance. They were beautifully made, but 
timid and tame. They reminded one of Sir Joshua Reynolds' 
criticism of a picture. The great painter was standing before 
a painting by another celebrated artist one day, and on being 
asked his opinion of the work, replied : " It wants it wants 
d n me ! it wants that." Nothing aggravates the con- 
noisseur like frigid monotony. No genius in the poetical world 
ever reached the summit of Parnassus by a path previously 
made, and no two great violin-makers ever walk exactly the 
same road. 

MARNIE, JOHN, Padanaram : nineteenth century. 

MARSHALL, JOHN, Aberdeen, contemporary. An 
excellent workman, who is famous throughout Scotland as a 
neat repairer. He has made a large number of instruments, 
mostly on the Stradivari model. Label : 



ABERDEEN, 1887, 

J. M. 

MARSHALL, JOHN, London : 1750-60. Fairly good 
work on the Stainer model, with sometimes exaggerated arch- 
ings. He varied his labels. 

MARTIN, , London. Little or nothing is known 

of him. 

MAYSON, WALTER H., Manchester, contemporary. 
He was born at Cheetwood, Manchester, on Nov. 8, 1835. 
He is a son of Mark Mayson, who was born at Keswick, and 
of Elizabeth, eldest daughter of the celebrated William Green, 

Plioto. A Rcston, Strttford 



painter in oils and water-colours. His father was a landed 
proprietor in Keswick, and a descendant of an ancient Cum- 
berland family. Green, the maker's grandfather on his mother's 
side, was contemporary and intimate with Coleridge, father and 
son ; Professor Wilson, who wrote a memoir of him in Black- 
wood's Magazine at his death, and the poet Wordsworth, who 
composed the epitaph now over his grave, in Grasmere Church- 
yard, close to where the said Wordsworth lies. He was 
educated by Thomas Walley, at Cheetham Hill, Manchester. 
He was married when twenty-eight years of age, at Eccles 
old Church, to Catherine Mary, eldest daughter of John 
Ellwood, bandmaster, whom he lost in five months in pre- 
mature childbirth. Later he married the widow of Frank 
King, of Manchester, by whom he has five children living, 
viz. : Sarah Elizabeth ; Walter Henry, professor of the violin 
and composer ; Stansfield, ditto ; Florence Gertrude ; and 
Leonora Beatrice. His second wife's maiden name was 
Hutchinson, and her native place Leicester. 

During his childhood Mayson manifested a strong natural 
bent for the use of fine edge tools. He made at an early 
period several articles of cabinet work, and also a number 
of jEolian harps. He invented an ingenious contrivance for 
this primitive instrument whereby the usual volume of sound 
was more than quadrupled. He showed an early leaning also 
towards literature. He had scarcely attained his majority when 
he published a volume of dramatic poetry, which evinced a 
considerable wealth of thought and mastery of verse. 

He received no training whatever in the art of violin- 
making ; he is absolutely self-taught. His first fiddle was 
made at "The Polygon," Lower Broughton, and begun on 
Oct. 1 6, 1873. A few more violins were made at the same 
house. He then removed to a workshop in Burton Arcade, 
Deansgate, Manchester, where he remained for some time and 
made many instruments. 

At this period Mayson suffered a great deal of persecution 
from his brother artists (if any one can be called an artist 
whose soul is stained with prejudice). Certain of the fraternity 


sought to put his light under a bushel by dubbing his work 
as "amateurish," " unclassical," &c. The inanity of these 
epithets soon became apparent when men of note began to 
recognise in Mayson a genius of the highest order. 

He next removed to Croft House, Newby Bridge, at the 
foot of Windermere, where he remained for six years, and 
made many fine instruments. From there he went back to 
Manchester to open a shop at 62 Oxford Street, where he has 
carried on business for several years. In September 1899, he 
opened a workshop at 256 High Holborn, London, which he 
had to close shortly after through lack of patronage. It has ever 
been the fate of genius to be recognised by only the few during 
its life day. The blinding light of the sun forbids us to look 
at the source of day straight in the face. 

Mr. Mayson has made up to the present 733 instruments, 
including violins, violas, and violoncellos. He makes on the 
classical lines, and also on an original model, but he is no 
copyist of any one. His wood is of the choicest maple and 
pine. In both the back and front tables of his high-class 
instruments it is not a whit inferior to that used by Stradivari 
in his finest examples. One sptcimen may be mentioned, viz., 
" Cordelia," in which the wood of the back is artistically finer 
than anything I have ever seen, classical or post-classical. His 
varnish is his own composition, of various colours, and of a'very 
elastic oil, perfectly transparent and free from any thought of 
cracking. In the softer shades it is surpassingly beautiful, 
defying the power of description as it defies the possibility of 

His original model is shown in the annexed plate. As to 
its merit there can be but one opinion: it is the conception of a 
lofty mind the creation of genius. The sound-holes are the 
classical conception idealised, and the scroll the quintessence of 
gracefulness and strength. The entire work is the product 
of a master mind. Such specimens as " Cordelia," " Eudocia," 
" Halle~-Mayson," "In Memoriam," " Isidor," "Bianca d'Qpia," 
&c., are poems poems that sing their own poetry in streams 
of velvet sounds. 

(Fecit 1903) 


(Fecit 1902) 


The dimensions of his original model are : 
Length of body ..... 1 4^ inches. 

Width across upper bouts 6J 

,, ,, middle bouts . . . 4.', ,, 

lower bouts 8 

Depth of rib at lower bouts . . . i 

upper bouts . . . i 

Length of sound-holes . . . . 3 

Distance between sound-holes at upper turn i| 

The arching is moderately pronounced a trifle more than 
that of the flat Strads. 

Mr. Mayson is now mostly engaged in carved-back instru- 
ments, choosing rocky landscapes, chiefly from the Lake 
district, flowers, &c., which are carved most beautifully in 
low relief. 

The illustration facing this page will give some idea of 
this beautiful work. The relief is only one-fortieth of an 
inch, and the effect is marvellous in so slight a cutting. 
The following is a list of Mayson's carved-back fiddles 
down to date : " Rosa Bonheur," " Moliere," both in scroll 
work ; " Anemone," carved in this flower with a girl dancing 
over a shell in the centre ; " Portinscale," a group of youths 
at the top engaged in plucking and eating grapes, and another 
group at the lower part holding a carouse on the fermented 
liquor of the same fruit ; " I will arise," Christ ascending 
among clouds ; " Lord Cavendish " and " Thomas Haviland 
Burke," both in scroll work ; " Anemone " (No. 2), same as 
before; " Old Windsor," her Majesty Queen Victoria in centre 
of back, rich drooping flowers down the sides; "Convolvulus," 
"Thirlmere," "Blea Tarn," "Wastdale" (viola) scenes from 
the Lake district ; " Ivy," and " King Edward VII." 

The fame of Mayson two hundred years hence will be 
due more especially to his ordinary back, original model 
fiddles, however exalted as works of art the above may be. 
Many experts have expressed the opinion that fiddles of the 
" Halle-Mayson " class will worthily replace the chefs-d* ceuvre 
of Cremona, when the latter have become food for worms. 


A grander fiddle than " Cordelia," e.g. y has never been made, 
never can be made. Another remarkable specimen is"Ele- 
phanta," which has only just been completed in London. 
This, in the opinion of two experts of eminence, is calculated 
to throw lustre even on Mayson's fame, though it is difficult 
to imagine how it can surpass his previous accomplishments. 
The tone of these instruments is most remarkable. In saying 
this it is not assumed that it is now equal in mellowness 
to that of the perfect Strads and Josephs left us, but it is 
maintained that it runs theirs very closely in quality, and 
most certainly excels that of most of them in power and 
breadth. It needs but age and careful use to develop the 
tonal qualities of these instruments to put many of the all- 
but-deified Strads entirely out of court. 

Mr. Mayson names each instrument as he makes it, and in 
doing so he has followed a wise plan, seeing that it makes 
fraud more difficult. There are, in addition, numerous private 
marks here and there in the instrument. A clue as to the 
maker's method of inserting private marks may be found in 
his interesting book "The Stolen Fiddle." 

The Mayson violins gained medals at Cork (1883), 
Inventions (1885), and Melbourne (1888). In the two 
former awards an originality in edging was specially men- 
tioned as adding to the gracefulness of the work. This was 
a Grecian ogee between the purfling and the rims. His 
prices range from 10 to j6o. 

The label is a different one for each instrument. The 
following is a facsimile of one put in a fine violin. 



Mr. Mayson is the author of " Colazzi," " The Heir of 
Dalton," "The Stolen Fiddle," "Violin-Making," and other 

ME ARES, RICHARD, London : 1660-80. A maker 
of lutes and viols. 

MEARES, RICHARD, London: 1675-80 (?). Son of 
the preceding. He made a few violins, but left the trade 
soon after his father's death. 

'MEEK, WILLIAM, Carlisle, contemporary. A gen- 
tleman amateur, who has made several beautifully-finished 

MEIKLE, ROBERT, Lesmahagow : 1817-97. Average 

contemporary. He was born at Burnside, Boarhills, near 
St. Andrews, Nov. i, 1859. He ' s an amateur maker who 
displays so considerable an amount of ability and originality 
as to justify more than a passing notice of his work. He has 
made over fifty violins, a few of which are on the Stradivari 
and a few on the Guarneri models, but the majority of them 
are on an original model. The outline and arching of this 
original model are strongly reminiscent of those of Joseph, 
but the outline is more rounded, especially in the inner bouts 
or C's, and the lower or broad end is more extended. The 
scroll and sound-holes also differ materially from those of the 
great classics, the former being quaint and pleasing in effect, 
but the latter overdone and bordering on a caricature. Mr. 
Mentiply's intellectual orchard is exuberant in growth, but it 
wants pruning. The classics are not to be depreciated as a 
means of education, and much less as objects of worship. 
The workmanship and tone are excellent, but the varnish is 
very indifferent. If this maker exercised a little self-restriction 
and used better varnishes, he would turn out work that would 



rank beside the best produced in Scotland to-day. Facsimile 
label : 

MENZIES, JOHN, Falkirk : 1820-31. I have not 
seen any of his work, but it is said to be very good. 

MERLIN, JOSEPH, London : 1765-80. Stainer model, 
fairly well made, but possessing a poor tone. The varnish 
is mostly dirty yellow or brown of an inferior quality. 
His mechanical pegs for violins and violoncellos were at one 
time in considerable use. Label : 


NO. 104. LONDINI, 1779. IMPROVED. 

MIER, - , London : c. 1780. 
MILLER, - , London : c. 1750. 

MILLER, ALEXANDER, St. Andrews : 1813-77. A 
pupil of Thomas Hardie. I have seen only two of his violins, 
which were well-made instruments, possessing a firm but 
somewhat metallic tone. At his death Miller possessed a 
large quantity of excellent violin wood, which was secured by 
Mr. John Logan of Biggar. 

MILLER, JOHN, Dundee, contemporary. He was 
born in the Orkneys, Sept. 18, 1861. His work is excellent, 
but there is so little of it that he cannot claim more than a 
passing notice. 



MILNE, PATRICK J., Aberdeen, contemporary. He 
was born at Aberdeen, on Jan. 30, 1873. He follows the 
usual models, and has made about thirty violins, besides repair- 
ing a large number. He uses both oil and spirit varnishes ; 
colours : orange, light and dark brown, and dark red. The 
workmanship is much above average, and the tone fairly 
good. He repairs very neatly, and has done considerable work 
now and again for some of the London houses. Facsimile 
label : 




MINER, D. BROWN, Dunfermline, contemporary. I 
have not seen any of his work. 

MITCHELL, GEORGE, Edzell : 1823-97. I have 
not seen any of his work. 

MITCHELL, JOHN, Dunfermline, contemporary. 

MONK, JOHN KING, Lewisham, contemporary. He 
was born Jan. 22, 1846, and is a direct descendant of 
General Monk, of Commonwealth fame. He works on the 
Stradivari model, but he has slightly modified the outline, 
making the corners fuller and more prominent. The sound- 
holes are considerably modified, and although they have much 
force of character and a piquancy all their own, yet one is 
constrained to wish that the maker had rest content with his 
classical prototype. In the matter of workmanship, this maker 
is capable of doing better than he sometimes does. 

He has used sundry sorts of wood, all of good quality. He 


foraged Shoreditch cabinet-makers' stores some years ago for 
material, and stumbled across several slabs of maple and one of 
sycamore, which had lain by for generations till it had got 
very dark. Some portions of this were very handsome when 
cut up. The pine which he has used up to the present was 
taken from an old warehouse at the foot of London Bridge, 
built in 1830. This same warehouse was removed to another 
part in 1860, and in 1886-87 was taken down, when Mr. 
Monk took advantage of the opportunity of securing the wood 
that suited his purpose. He has used all this pine with the 
exception of some odd pieces, and two small blocks sufficient 
for two bellies. 

His varnish is oil, and of various colours, ranging from deep 
red to golden yellow. It is perfectly transparent and fairly 

He is the inventor of the triple bar system, which he 
applies to worn-out old and to cheap modern factory fiddles. 
The system consists in the use of three bass bars instead of the 
usual one. 

He has made up to date ninety violins and a few violas. 
Facsimile label : 

9. Z. MoniT, 



MOORE, ANTHONY JOHN, Sunderland, contem- 
porary, was born in Monkwearmouth, in the year 1852. He 
is the eldest son of the late Captain Thomas Moore, at one 
time well known in the Indian and China trades. He was 
educated at the academy of the Rev. William Parks, in 
Ravensworth Terrace, Monkwearmouth, and also at the 
schools of Mr. James Cameron, in North Bridge Street, and 
of Mr. John Cameron, in Blandford Street, of the same place. 


He is an artist by profession a painter of the sea and 
tidal rivers. About fifteen years ago he first saw the work of 
Hart on the violin, and he was so much impressed with its 
many illustrations that he became enamoured with the king of 
instruments. In the year 1886 he made his first violin, and 
since then he has made a considerable number. He spends 
most of his leisure time in experimenting and in working out 
the geometrical construction of the instrument, with the view 
of by-and-by turning out fiddles that will be representative of 
all that is excellent in the modern school. 

The one instrument of his make which I examined was 
beautifully made, and had a large and telling tone. Its out- 
line and arching were on the Joseph model slightly modified. 
The wood of the front table was an extraordinary piece of 
timber, and seemed fresh, considering its great age. The 
scroll was nicely carved, but possessed more of the feminine 
characteristics than is perhaps allowable in copies of Joseph. 
The button was prim and prop. The margin was of medium 
width, and the edges gently rounded. The sound-holes were 
piquant and expressive. The varnish was an oil one of 
Mr. Moore's own composition ; colour : golden yellow. I 
was particularly pleased with the tone of this instrument. It 
was perfectly clear and responsive in all the positions, and the 
harmonics were as crisp as the jingle of frozen rush blown by 
the breath of winter. I have no knowledge whether Mr. 
Moore is always equally successful in producing a good tone. 
Facsimile label : 




MORGAN, JAMES, Edinburgh, contemporary. He 
was born in Kincardine-on-Forth, in the year 1839. He was 


apprenticed at the age of fourteen to a cabinet-maker, who was 
a first-class workman, and an occasional maker of all sorts of 
musical instruments made of wood, including violins. During 
apprenticeship he made about a dozen violins and one violon- 
cello. Leaving Kincardine, he settled down in Edinburgh, 
where he made several violins of such excellent workmanship 
and tone that brought him quickly to the notice of some of the 
musicians of the town. At this period, however, he passed 
through a religious crisis, and violin-making and playing were 
cast aside for twenty-eight years. When he next took up the 
art he was considerably past the meridian of life, and had 
reached the age at which it is usual for men to cease from the 
harder activities of life. This does not imply that he does not 
now turn out instruments of a high order, but that they are 
few and far between. It is a pity that Morgan ever laid by 
his gouge, and especially so when it is considered that religious 
scruples were the cause. It was never intended that religion 
should rob art of its fruit. 

He works on the Stradivari model, using very choice 
materials, and Whitelaw's varnish. The tone is large and 
mellow. Facsimile inscription : 


A / 


MORRISON, ARCHIBALD, Glasgow : 1820-95. He 
worked in Great Hamilton Street, where he had a violin shop, 
and where he made a large number of instruments, some fairly 
good, but most of rather under average merit. The little of 
his work that I have seen was of a very indifferent character. 
Morrison appears to have been a far better player than maker, 
and his shop was the rendezvous of fiddle enthusiasts and 


players, who were known in Glasgow as " Morrison's Band." 
Label : 


GLASGOW, 1875 

MORRISON, JAMES, Dunfermline, contemporary. 
An amateur maker of average attainments. 

MORRISON, JOHN, London: 1760-1827. Reworked 
in Princes Street, Soho, in Shadwell, and at Little Turnstile, 
Holborn. I have never seen any instruments bearing his label. 
I think he must have worked exclusively for the dealers. 

MURDOCH, ALEXANDER, Aberdeen : 1815-91. 

MURRAY, DANIEL, Edinburgh, contemporary. 
Ordinary work. 

MURRAY, DAVID, Gorebridge, contemporary. He 
was born at Greeburn, Linlithgowshire, Dec. 30, 1850. 
He is an amateur maker of far more than average ability, and 
did circumstances but allow him to procure good material, he 
would turn out work which would be in every way excellent. 
As matters stand, Murray has often to rest content with any 
sort of timber he can pick up. When he does secure a piece 
of good wood, he spends months in fondly shaping it, and in 
tracing out of the inert block lines of living beauty. He 
works on an original model, or perhaps it would be more 
correct to say models, seeing that no two of his instruments 
are exactly alike. Each violin has an individuality of its own, 
and yet " David Murray " is writ large on the face of every 
one of them. The workmanship is faultless, and the tone 
has a peculiar crisp yet sweet quality which is novel and 
pleasing. He has made about sixty violins. Label : 




MURRAY, JAMES, Dumfries, contemporary. He was 
born at Lockerbie, July u, 1857. An amateur maker of 
average ability. 

MURRAY, JOHN BROWN, Clarebrand, contem- 
porary. He was born at Ringanwhey, Kirkcudbrightshire, 
May 21, 1849. He has made several excellent violins on the 
Stradivari model. The work is beautifully finished, and the 
tone is bright and penetrating. Facsimile label : 


NAYLOR, ISAAC, Headingly, Leeds: 1775-90. A 
pupil of Richard Duke ; and he has reproduced many of the 
salient features of the master in his work. 

NEWTON, ISAAC, London: 1775-1825. He made 
mostly for the trade, particularly for Betts. Both workman- 
ship and tone are of good average merit. 

NICOL, THOMAS, Glasterlaw, contemporary. He 
was born in the parish of Kirkden, Forfarshire, June 10, 
1840. He has made about sixty violins on the models of 
Stradivari and Guarneri. On his firsts efforts he used a spirit 
varnish, but he now uses Whitelaw's. The work is carefully 
done, and the tone is free and powerful. Label : 

18 MAKER 97 

NISBET, WILLIAM, Lint Mill, Prestonkirk : 1828- 
1902. He was born at Stenton, Jan. 5, 1828, and died at 


Lint Mill in 1902. He received no school education in early 
life, his father, who was a labouring man, giving him what 
home teaching he could. He was, however, possessed of wide 
information upon a variety of subjects, and distinguished in 
mechanical knowledge and skill. The Rev. G. Marjoribanks, 
vicar of Stenton, thus concludes his account of Nisbet's life 
and work in the Haddington Courier : " It is not too much to 
say that, in whatever direction he has turned his energies, he 
has always excelled. Few, indeed, would suppose that the 
modest-looking yet trim little cottage which stands near the 
picturesque ruins of the old mill, was occupied by a man 
possessed not only of rare technical skill, but of such accurate 
and extensive information, gathered mainly from personal obser- 
vation and study in the fields of natural history and science, 
whether as a photographer, wood-carver, carpenter, basket-maker, 
violin-maker, or in more recent years as a market-gardener, 
the productions of his genius and labour have been equally 
admired and appreciated, and this none the less because ac- 
companied by a singular modesty of character and demeanour, 
and without his having had the benefit of any special training 
and education. In short, if the well-known author of * Self- 
Help' wishes to find solid material for a new biographical 
sketch, he could hardly do better than select for his theme the 
subject of this little notice.'" 

Nisbet made 120 violins. The earlier ones are on the 
model of Maggini, and the later ones are said to be on 
the model of Amati, " with a broadened waist to give more 
tone." Those examined by me were not on the Amati 
model at all, the differences being so marked and numerous as 
to justify one in describing the model as original. The 
following measurements, taken from an instrument made in 
1891, will bear out the last statement : 

Length of body 1 3 j inches. 

Width across upper bouts 6| 

,, middle bouts 4 n 
lower bouts 8 

Distance between corners . . . 3^5- 


Length of sound- holes . . . . 2^ inches. 
Distance between sound- holes at top . . if 
Depth of ribs at top and bottom . . i^ ,, 

The workmanship is excellent, and the tone large and 
telling. The only faulty part of the work is the varnish, 
which is a spirit one of a dull, lifeless colour. He was awarded 
two bronze medals for an exhibit of violins at the Edinburgh 
International Exhibition in 1886. 

Nisbet used no label, but inscribed with a hard lead pencil 
on the back in the place where the label usually stands the 
following : 

NOBLE, HUGH, Dundee, contemporary. An amateur 
of good average ability. 

NORBORN, JOHN, London: c. 1720. 

NORMAN, BARAK, London: 1688-1740. A pupil 
of Thomas Urquhart, who worked in Bishopsgate and after- 
wards in St. Paul's Churchyard. I have not seen any violins 
of his make, but I have seen two violoncellos. Unfortunately, 
the notes of these instruments which I made at the time have 
been lost, and I cannot say anything about them from memory, 
but I have a distinct recollection that one had a most pleasing 
tone. The biographical particulars are familiar to all who are 
interested in violin literature, and need not be repeated here, 
seeing that I have nothing new to write about this maker. 

NORRIS, JOHN, London: 1739-1818. A pupil of 
Thomas Smith, and for some time (1765-80) partner with 


OMOND, JAMES, Stromness, contemporary. He was 
born in Halkness, South Walls, June 23, 1833, and works as a 
professional maker at Kirbuster, Stromness, in the Orkneys. 
He received elementary education at a public school in his 
native place, and also at the parish school. At the age of 
sixteen he took charge of a small school in an adjacent island 
containing only seven families. Soon after he took charge of 
this school he found that he needed to be better equipped for 
the profession of a schoolmaster, so he attended the Stromness 
school at intervals, and also learned navigation. He finally 
equipped himself for his work at the Edinburgh Training 
College. After his college career he was appointed master 
of the society school in the parish of Stromness, where, through 
pressure of work, his health gave way. He completely lost his 
voice for eight years, and, after the passing of the Education Act 
of 1872, he was invalided on a limited pension. He now had 
to turn his attention to some other means of livelihood, and he 
picked up watchmaking and repairing. This was not con- 
genial to his tastes, so he decided upon violin-making. To 
this art he has devoted his time and energies since the year 
1873. That he wisely deliberated in his final choice of a 
calling is amply borne out by the success of his gouge. He 
succeeded almost from the first, for the mechanical part of the 
work gave him little or no difficulty. He had learned how to 
handle edged-tools at the workshop of his father, uncle, and 
brother, who were general carpenters and boat-builders, and he 
set about diligently to obtain knowledge of the science of violin 
construction by corresponding with such authorities as Mr. 
Horace Petherick, Mr. George Hart, &c. From the former 
of these gentlemen he got very valuable hints, and to him he 
is largely indebted for his success. 

Mr. Omond was married in 1860 to Jane Groat, of South 
Walls. He has four sons and one daughter James, John, 
Jane, William, and David. He is a genial old gentleman, 


with a face beaming with Orcadian humour and a heart 
affectionately attached to the kirk of his forefathers. 

He spends his time in the company of the great Antony 
and Joseph, with an occasional excursion to the lonely, weeping 
Gio. Paolo. He is not a slavish copyist ; on the other hand, 
he sometimes modifies the lines and vaulting of the masters, 
and he not infrequently develops the scroll and sound-holes in 
a manner quite original. The outline measurements are nearly 
always identical with those of the archetypes, but the thickness 
of the plates is uniformly greater. 

One noticeable feature about the sound-holes is the acute- 
ness of the inner angle of the lower wing. This, in a large 
majority of cases, is developed into a fine point, somewhat after 
the manner of Otto. 

Up to the present he has made two hundred instruments, 
including violins, violas, and violoncellos. 

The workmanship and finish are perfect the greatest care 
being manifest even down to the minutest detail. 

Mr. Omond's wood is excellent in quality and very often 
fine in appearance. The grain of the pine is moderately wide, 
and the " reed " well-defined and straight, showing a healthy 
growth. He often manages, in spite of his living at so great a 
distance from a good market, to hit upon a very good piece of 
sycamore or pine, which he knows well how to use. 

Mr. Omond has never attempted to make his own varnish. 
Like a certain king we read of in olden times, he is blest with 
a sense which is rare amongst men, viz., the sense to know 
what cannot, as well as what can, be done. He has no know- 
ledge of chemistry, and knows that it would be a waste of time 
for him to dabble at varnish-making. He uses Caffyn's, or 
some other good varnish, mostly in amber or orange. He lays 
it on very carefully, first preparing the surface of the wood to 
a fine polish, and then with a clean rag dipped in the pale 
varnish he puts on the first coat in a thin film, so as to prevent 
it soaking into the wood. The coloured varnish is also put on 
thin, and each coat allowed good time to dry. 

Omond's instruments have gained the following awards : 
Diplomas of merit at Central International Exhibition, Mel- 




bourne, 1888; International Exhibition, Edinburgh, 1890; 
East End Industrial Exhibition, Glasgow, 1891 ; National 
Trades and Industrial Exhibition, Glasgow, 1895-96. With 
the last he got a bronze medal, the highest award they gave. 

It may also be mentioned that at the Fisheries Exhibition, 
Edinburgh, he obtained a silver medal and 5 for an essay on 
fishing-boats and a model of an improved boat. 

He sells his instruments at a very moderate figure, ranging 
from .3 to 10. He plays well on the fiddle, though with 
him playing is subsidiary to making, and only taken up com- 
paratively late in life for the purpose of testing his work. 

Mr. Omond, it may fairly be asserted, is in the front rank 
of modern Scottish makers. His work is downright honest, 
unsophisticated, solid British work, and his devotion to the art 
will materially help to sustain the fame of Scottish violin- 
makers. Facsimile label : 


OWEN, JOHN WILLIAM, Leeds, contemporary. He 
was born in Leeds, May 28, 1852, and works at Amati House, 
Merrion Place, New Briggate. He is the only child of 
William and Hannah Owen, the father being a native of 
Congleton, and the mother of Chester. The latter, whose 
maiden name was Rimmer, was of a highly artistic turn of 
mind, and without a rival as a designer in fancy work. Owen 
received his early education at an elementary school in his 
native town, but it was discontinued at a stage which made 
it necessary for him to supplement it by attendance at scientific 
classes in the evenings later on in life. 


He was apprenticed to the engineering trade, but the work 
proved too heavy for him and his health gave way. He was 
an invalid for about three years, and was obliged to get 
constant medical attendance. On recovering, his doctor 
advised him to give up all business except that of violin- 
making, which he had taken up as a hobby previous to his 
illness. He acted upon this advice, and as he gained in 
strength he took up the art of making and repairing more 
thoroughly. He spared no effort in gleaning information on 
the subject from every available source. He acquired both 
theoretical and practical knowledge from expert workmen, 
and he went to France, visiting one atelier after another, with 
the same object in view. 

It sometimes happens that good comes out of evil. It is so 
in this instance : the ill-health of Mr. Owen is responsible 
for one more splendid addition to the roll of British fiddle- 
makers. We do not regret his severe illness provided that it 
has not shortened his thread of life, and that it will not, 
Phoenix-like, rise again from its own ashes. 

He commenced violin-making in 1884, but the business 
at the start was not continuous. Since his recovery it has 
been carried on without intermission. Up till now he has 
made about a hundred new instruments, including violins, 
violas, and 'cellos. He has also made a large number of new 
backs and bellies for instruments belonging chiefly to dealers. 
He has repaired very extensively. He keeps a record of every 
instrument that passes through his hands, and the list stands 
now at 3721. He works on the Stradivari, Guarneri, and his 
own models. The fiddle submitted to me was original in 
outline and modelling. Its dimensions are : 

Length of body . . . . . 14^ inches. 

Width of upper bouts 6| 

lower bouts . . . . 8 

middle bouts .... 4^ 

Length of inner bouts from corner to corner 3 

Length of Dholes .... 3 

Height of ribs i J inches, diminishing to . ^ 

(Fecit 1903) 


The outline of this fiddle is very pure and graceful, and 
every individual part is in perfect keeping with the whole. 
The margins are full and the edges strong, slightly raised, and 
beautifully rounded. The scroll is an exquisite piece of work; 
it is thrown with a masterly hand, and is full of refined 
strength. The interior is finished as carefully as the exterior. 
The blocks and lining are faultless, showing not the slightest 
trace of glue. The mitres of the fiddle examined by me were 
geometrically perfect, having facets of nearly a millimetre in 
width. This style, it must be conceded, is more in keeping 
with the outline than the " knife-edge " facet. The wood is 
excellent. The curl of the maple is of narrow width and 
very regular, and running at an angle of thirty degrees to the 
long axis of the fiddle. The front table has been cut from a 
slab that obtained a prize for excellence at the 1851 Exhibi- 
tion, and it has a " reed " of medium width. Mr. Owen was 
fortunate in being able to purchase a considerable quantity of 
Exhibition wood, and is thus enabled to put superior material 
in his higher class instruments. The varnish is an oil one, of 
the maker's own composition ; colours : yellow to deep red. 
In the specimen examined by me it was a rich red with a 
golden tinge, very brilliant and transparent. The chief 
characteristics of this maker's tone are breadth and brilliancy. 
It is a tone which, when time has mellowed it, will subdue by 
reason of its grandiose timbre. The awe-inspiring and the 
grand are required in the realm of sound as in that of form. 

Perhaps Mr. Owen claims attention even more on account 
of his violoncellos than his fiddles. In Mr. Arthur Broadley's 
opinion, these stand alone of their kind in the midst of modern 
productions. He says : " The latest 'cello is beyond every- 
thing. In workmanship it is perfect ; in tone nothing better 
could be desired big, brilliant, and of good carrying power, 
easy to play on at every part of the instrument." The 'cello 
to which Mr. Broadley refers is of fine proportions, and slightly 
higher in model than the earlier ones. Mr. Owen made about 
two years ago a 'cello for Mr. David Dixon, 'cellist at the 
Theatre Royal, Bradford. The instrument was very recently 
seen by Mr. Van Biene, and said to be worth at present ^"150. 


Mr. Owen makes bows, violins, violas, violoncellos, and 
double-basses. All the work is personal. He employs no 
workmen, but he is assisted in the workroom by his daughter, 
Ivy. His prices are a trifle more moderate than is usual in 
these days of high figures. They are : 

For violins . ...... from ^i a 

For violas . . . . 15 

For 'cellos . . . . . . . 20 

He was married to Miss Jane E. Beresford in December 
1879, in York. Their offspring are : Leonora Beresford, 
Jenny Stella, Ivy Rimmer, Adelina, and Paulina. In private 
life he is amiable and blameless. In his art he is an enthusiast. 
To the outsider he may seem to be crazy on the subject 
of violin-making. He has a firm belief in his own powers, 
and has the conviction that he has found his vocation in the 
making of stringed instruments. This gentle egotism is not 
to be condemned ; it is a psychical state in which the mind 
of every born luthier is bound to find itself. And herein lies 
the test between the born artist and the artist that is made. 

Mr. Owen has played the violin from childhood, and has 
also studied harmony and composition from an early age. 

He gave violin lessons at one time, and enjoyed a con- 
siderable reputation as a teacher. He for some time also acted 
as deputy leader at the local theatres when occasion required. 
Facsimile label : 

A fine violin, made on an original model, is shown here. 

(In the Collection of Mr. C. CLOSE, Dagmar Lodge) 


(Fecit 1712) 
(Now in the possession of Mr. RICHARD HILTON, Matlock Bridge) 


The label is not dated, but the date is inscribed on the 
bare wood after the maker's autograph. 

PAMPHILON, EDWARD, London : 1670-90. The 
instruments of this old maker are a sort of cross-breed between 
those of Brescia and Absam. He had evidently seen and 
handled instruments of both schools, and became consequently 
unsettled in his mind as to what course to pursue. The 
outline, scroll, and double purflihg are Brescian, but the 
arching is distinctly Tyrolese. The workmanship considered 
per se is excellent, but it is devoid of taste, and in a few matters 
of detail, to wit, the terminals of the sound-holes, it seeds into 
eccentricity. His tenors, like his violins, are of a small 
pattern, but their tone is sweet and penetrating. He used 
amber yellow varnish of good quality, which in many cases 
looks well and almost fresh to-day. I doubt whether there 
are any Pamphilon instruments in existence bearing original 

PARKER, DANIEL, London : 1700-45. The infor- 
mation which is usually given respecting this maker is mis- 
leading, and most writers content themselves with repeating 
early errors in almost the same words. Hart, Haweis, and 
Miss Stainer give his period as being 1740-85, and Fleming 
as 1715-85. As a matter of fact they are all wrong. There 
are undoubtedly genuine examples of his work bearing the 
dates 1712, 1719, 1726, and 1732 still in existence. The 
earliest which I have seen is dated 1712, a specimen which 
has been pronounced genuine by the Messrs. Hart, and also 
by the Messrs. Hill. It is on the long Strad model, slightly 
modified, and with a rather doubtful scroll. Mr. Richard 
Hilton, of Derby House, Matlock Bridge, is the owner of this 
interesting instrument, and for the illustrations (see opposite) of 
this earliest known example of Parker I have to tender him my 
sincere thanks. It has been surmised that Parker was the 


pupil of Pamphilon, or of Urquhart, or of both, but on what 
ground it is difficult to understand, as there is not the remotest 
resemblance between his work and that of either of these. 
It is not necessary to suppose that he was a pupil of anybody, 
for he was a born artist, and endowed with natural mechanical 
skill. Given an artistic mind and an aptitude for tools, and a 
man may by hard work and perseverance develop into a first- 
class luthier without undergoing the usual routine of long 
apprenticeship. Parker's instruments are typical examples of 
British work of the classical period. They embody the 
strong points of those who may be considered to be above 
him, as well as some of the weak points of those who were 
below him. He was a good maker, but only a moderately 
good copyist. His fiddles will never pass as Italians, because 
they are too thoroughly British in character. Strongly built, 
honest, and unpretending in demeanour, they should prove to 
be objects of uncommon interest to the connoisseur. Parker 
copied (or tried to copy) Stainer, Stradivari, and N. Amati. 
The workmanship is much the same throughout ; free, firm, 
and rugged, with little or no feminine gracefulness smiling from 
its lines. The varnish is of excellent quality, tender, and of 
various reddish shades, sometimes a little thick and dull. His 
tone has much the same characteristics as that of Banks. 
Comparatively few of this maker's instruments bear his label. 
He was a man who lived in the future, and who sacrificed 
immediate reputation as much as the exigencies of time and 
tide would allow him. He evidently did not worry about 
fame, and was content to dispose of his ware to the trade. 
Had he worked his plates thinner, and thought it worth his 
while to copy the reigning god (Stainer) more closely, he 
doubtless would have attracted universal patronage. But 
Daniel was of a philosophical turn of mind, and gave to the 
world the milk of wisdom rather than the sweets of fancy. 
What is considered to be the finest Parker violin in existence 
is owned by Clarkson Close, Esq., of Dagmar Lodge, Leeds. 
This is also on the long Strad lines (see illustration), with red 
amber oil varnish, and a magnificent scroll. 


This example is considered by the Messrs. Hill to belong 
to the year 1700, or thereabouts. I would urge that in point 
of detail and general effect it resembles much more the instru- 
ments made in 1726 than it does those made in 1712 and 1715. 
Parker made his best instruments from about 1720 to 1727. 
The tone of this instrument is bright, clear, and powerful. 

PATERSON, JAMES, Edinburgh : 1834-98. A 
cabinet-maker by trade. He made copies of Guarnerius, 
and also very good ones of the " Count Cessol " Stradivari 
in the possession of Mr. W. Croall. He used Dr. Inglis 
Clark's varnish. He obtained a bronze medal for a case of 
violins at the Edinburgh Exhibition, 1890. 

PATRICK, WILLIAM, St. Andrews, contemporary. 
He was born at St. Monance, Fife, in 1872. A beginner 
who promises to turn out good work by-and-by. He handles 
his tools well, but has several mistakes to rectify in matters of 
style, &c. Facsimile label : 

PAYNE, R., South Shields, contemporary. 

PEARCE, GEORGE, London : 1820-56. Worked 
with S. A. Forster. 

PEARCE, JAMES & THOMAS, London: 1780- 
1810. Brothers. They worked in Peter Street, Saffron 
Hill. Indifferent work. 

PEARCE, WILLIAM, London : nineteenth century. 
Average work. 


PEMBERTON, EDWARD, London: c. 1660. I 
have not seen or heard of anybody living who professes to 
have seen violins by Pemberton. Some have written as 
though they had seen numerous examples of Pemberton's art, 
but I have inquired diligently for the last twenty years for 
definite particulars, and none are forthcoming. The legend 
of the " Earl of Leicester " violin has been laid to rest 
long ago. 

PERRY & WILKINSON, Dublin : 1780-1830. Some 
of their instruments are excellent as regards workmanship and 
tone, and ought to be diligently sought and carefully kept. I 
saw one years ago at Fishguard, which was on the grand 
Stradivari model, with golden red varnish, and a sweet, liquid 
tone. No doubt it has found its way to some dust heap 
long ago. 

PICKARD, HANDEL, Leeds: nineteenth century. 
I can give no particulars of his life or work. 

PINE, , London : nineteenth century. 

PLANE, WALTER, Glasgow : 1804-79. Stradivari 
model. The workmanship is good, but the varnish is a hard 
spirit one, and the tone loud and piercing. Label : 




POWELL, ROYAL & THOMAS, London: 1770- 
1800. Two brothers who did most of their work for William 
Forster and his son. Careful workmanship, but rather weak 

PRESTON, , London : c. 1720. 

PRESTON, JOHN, York : 1780-1800. He was capable 
of turning out very good work, but most of his remains show 


carelessness. The line is not at all bad. Labels (there were 
several, of which the following is one) : 

FECIT, YORK, 1789 
PRIESTLEY, A. W., Leeds, contemporary. 

PRIESTNALL, JOHN, Rochdale: 1819-99. He was 
born at Saddleworth, near Oldham, in Nov. 1819, and died 
at Rochdale, Jan. 18, 1899. He was originally a joiner 
and pattern-maker, and noted as an ingenious workman, 
and the discoverer of several improvements in wood-working 
machines. He worked occasionally at violin-making in early 
life, but in 1870 he began to devote the whole of his time to 
it, and the remaining years of his life was spent as a pro- 
fessional maker. At the time of his death he had completed 
three hundred violins, thirty violas, six 'cellos, and eight double- 
basses. His instruments are well finished, and possess con- 
siderable originality. His wood is mostly regular in figure, 
cut on the quarter, with the curl running at right angles to 
the long axis. The sound-holes are quaint, but pleasing. 

The scroll is thrown with a decided hand. The edges 
are full and rounded, and the purfling nicely inlaid. The 
varnish is an oil one ; colour, deep golden amber. It is 
transparent, elastic, and tender rather too tender, seeing that 
a fiddle which was made in 1884 is not yet quite hard-dry in 
1902. One suspects that a varnish which does not thoroughly 
set in eighteen years will never set at all. Apart from this 
one defect, the varnish is very beautiful. It is laid on in about 
half-a-dozen coats, and nicely polished. The tone is large 
and telling, and possesses much of the Italian oiliness, but it is 
rather viola-like on the lower strings. I am told this is a 
characteristic of all his instruments. Nevertheless it is a 
highly respectable tone, and stamps Priestnall as a maker of no 
ordinary ability. Had he been more conversant with Italian 
work of the first rank, no doubt some of the three hundred odd 
examples of his art which he left behind him would be eagerly 
sought after to-day by orchestral players. 


As a repairer Priestnall was justly famed. Instruments 
came to him from all parts, and he repaired hundreds of all 
descriptions, mostly of the English and French schools. He 
had a fertile brain, and his genius was very assertive in invent- 
ing contrivances when working at an awkward repair. Not 
only was repairing to him a fine art, but the method of work- 
ing was also regarded by him as an art. He studied means as 
well as ends. 

Old Mr. Hill, of Wardour Street, is reported to have said 
that a good maker ou^ht 1 3 be able to make a fiddle with a 
knife and fork, albeit he himse lf used the finest tools in his 
repairing, made from the best metal. 

Priestnall did not believe in " knife and fork " repairing. 
He would patiently spend hours over a contrivance that would 
methodically ensure an artistic finish to a job. There is ample 
room to-day for more men of his stamp. Artistic repairers 
are few and far between. There are not above half-a-dozen 
scientific repairers in Great Britain at the present time, whereas 
there are at least two hundred makers, professional and amateur, 
exclusive of manufacturers of the ordinary trade fiddle. 

Priestnall was a very genial and generous man. He had 
the sense of humour also if the following tale be true. It is 
related that he once " faked " an Italian fiddle in order to test 
the powers of a well-known London expert. He carefully 
prepared his " bait," clapped a Storioni ticket into it, and sent 
it up for opinion. The instrument came back with a certificate 
duly attesting that the fiddle was genuine as labelled. 

Priestnall was much amused over the credulity of the " big 
gun," as he called him. The incident is not impossible. I 
know a maker of " Old Italian " instruments residing at 
present not one hundred miles from Manchester, who by 
his cunning and deftness continually practises his black 
art upon the experts. He recently turned out a splendid 
Panormo and a Grancino which completely deceived a high 
priest of the art. Quis judicet ipsos criticos ? 

Priestnall was an old-fashioned player on the violin, and in 
his young days was much in request at country weddings, 


fairs, &c. He sold his instruments at 4, but some of them 
have been recently sold at double the price. 

His instruments bear no label, but the maker's name is 
stamped on the wood with a cold punch in several places, 
and the number of the instrument is stamped on the button. 

RAE, JOHN, Battersea, contemporary. He was born in 
Duff Street, Macduff, N.B., Oct. 31, 1847. He is the eldest 
son of James Rae, and the eldest grandson of John Rae, of 
Forglen, Turriff, well-known throughout the northern parts 
of Scotland as a famous maker of bagpipes. This last-named 
John Rae died in 1857, a g ed ninety. 

Soon after the birth of young Rae the family removed to 
Turriff, and resided there until his father became tenant of the 
Carpenter's Croft, Netherdale. This was in 1856. The boy 
Rae was for some time a pupil of a Mr. Ingram, at a private 
school in Turriff, and got on well there till the fates decreed 
his removal. From Netherdale he attended the school of 
Inverkeithny, and subsequently Aberchirder and Marnoch 
schools, but only for a short time. When he was about 
eleven years of age a misfortune happened to the family, 
which, no doubt, changed the whole course of his life. They 
were burned out of hearth and home. The father was from 
home at the time on business, and in the twilight of an 
autumn day a gleam of light was seen in an outhouse where 
some sheaves of corn, the last of the crop, had been taken in 
the previous night. Disaster was sudden. The father re- 
turned just in time to see the last of the premises, which were 
in a sheet of flame corn stacks, workshop, wood-rack, tools, 
and furniture, all but precious life was lost. Mr. Rae, who 
was not by any means a rich man before, was left now a very 
poor man indeed, with a family of six to maintain. The 
inevitable followed. Young Rae was taken from school and 
put to serve an apprenticeship as a joiner. At the age of 
twenty he went to Edinburgh, and worked there at his 


trade, and attended evening classes for mathematics and 
drawing. In 1869 he returned to Netherdale owing to 
failing health. It was soon after this that he essayed to 
make his first violin a project carried out for the purpose 
of experiment, under the impetus of a theory then recently 
broached of a certain relation between proportionate form 
and musical sounds. 

In 1873 he regained health and came to London, hoping 
to find employment as a violin-maker. He found to his 
dismay that violin-making as a trade was non est in the metro- 
polis, but to soothe his feelings he attended lectures on 
acoustics at the South Kensington Museum, and did consider- 
able experimenting on the tonal qualities of different woods. 

In 1883 he got an appointment in the British Museum 
(Natural History), which relieved him of the drudgery of the 
bench. In 1884 he was married, and his wife sympathising 
with him in his weakness for fiddle-making, the passion for 
caliper and gouge broke out afresh. From 1884 to 1890 he 
studied the construction of the fiddle, and made moulds, 
models, templets, &c. Since 1890 all his spare moments have 
been given to his hobby, and up to the present he has made 
fifty-one violins and four violas. He is a slow, patient, and 
extremely careful worker, turning out only two or three 
instruments in the year. He is an artist in the highest sense 
of the word, and spends days over that which most makers 
spend only hours or minutes. His outline and model are 
original and highly artistic. The curves are pronounced, yet 
nervously delicate. His wood is magnificent. For several of 
his front tables he has used fine grained pine, without joint, 
cut from a gigantic tree grown in California. This was a tree 
of the species known as Sequoia Gigantea. It was 276 feet in 
height, and the annual rings proved it to be 1335 years old 
when cut down in 1872. It is very unconventional to use 
this wood, but the results show that conventionalism is some- 
times on the erring path. 

The outline is grand and elegant. A very noticeable 
feature is the balance between the upper and lower portions 


of the instrument. The outline is considerably fuller at the 
upper bouts than is ordinarily the case. The C's are less 
angular and more sweetly extended and rounded than in 
any but the best Italian work. 

The scroll is original in design and beautiful in execution. 
It is prim and poised. Its swell and bent are like the neck of 
a proud swan, and it is worthy of the hand of a Stradivari. 

The button is of medium size, rather too long to be 
described as "rounded." The corners are full and fine, 
as befits the outline. 

The purfling is inlaid without a tremor. In some speci- 
mens it is of the usual description ; in others the middle strip 
is narrow so narrow that it is hardly perceptible at the dis- 
tance of a few feet from the instrument. The arrangement 
is well calculated to emphasise the beautiful outline of the 
fiddle. The maker is careful, however, to varnish the instru- 
ment in one of the lighter shades when he purfles in this way. 

The conception of the whole build is grand and simple. 
Majesty intoxicated with the wine of the Graces ! The tone 
is large, rich, and free. The instruments with bellies of the 
Californian giant have a distinct timbre, and their tone may 
be described as rich and ringing. Perhaps it has not the 
oiliness of the tone of Italian wood, but it has something else 
which is equally necessary to the harmony of sounds. 

Mr. Rae sells his instruments at 10. This sum is no 
indication of the artistic merits of the instruments, for they 
are in the front rank of modern work. It is a pity he does 
not make faster. On that matter, however, he has a word 
to say : " I hope to live to swell the number considerably, 
but I may say, as the banker-poet Rogers is reported to have 
said, * I would rather go down to posterity as a diamond than 
as a ton of coals.' " Facsimile label : 

JOHN RAE, Maker, 



RAEBURN, ALEXANDER, Leven, Fife, contem- 
porary. I have not seen any of his work, but it is said that 
his instruments are very good. Facsimile label : 

RAEBURN, GEORGE R., West Calder, contem- 
porary. He was born at Largoward, near St. Andrews, 
April 4, 1846. He works on the Stradivari and Guarneri 
models, using excellent wood and a good oil varnish of his 
own composition. The workmanship is beautiful, and the 
tone very good. Mr. Raeburn was one of the favoured few 
who were invited some years ago by Mr. Crawford, of 
Edinburgh, to see the " Messie " Strad, and a vivid impression 
of the glories of the prince of fiddles are among the most 
treasured of his recollections. Up to the present he has 
made about fifty instruments, charging from 4 to .4, IDS. 
for work that is honestly worth double the money, as prices 
go. Facsimile label : 

West Calder. A. I). 18 

RAEBURN, JOHN, Largoward, contemporary. He 
was born in the Parish of Carnbee, Feb. 19, 1833, an( ^ ^ s 
the eldest brother of the Alexander and George Raeburn 
previously mentioned. He has made about one hundred 
violins on the usual models, and also repaired a large number 
of instruments. The workmanship is of good average merit, 
and the tone good. He uses his brother's varnish, which is of 
a golden orange colour. 


RAMSAY, WILLIAM, Biggar, contemporary. An 
amateur who has made a few instruments on the Stradivari 

RAWLINS, , London : c. 1770-80. 

REED, B., Durham, contemporary. I have not seen any 
of his work. 

RICHARDS, EDWIN, London : nineteenth century. 

RILEY, HENRY, Liverpool, contemporary. He works 
at 8 Edge Grove, Fairfield, and produces good instruments 
both as regards workmanship and tone. 

RITCHIE, ARCHIBALD, Dundee: 1833-1902. He 
was born at Woodend, Banchory, Aberdeenshire, Oct. 3, 
1833, and died in Dundee in 1902, of blood-poisoning. He 
made over one hundred and fifty violins of excellent work- 
manship and tone on the model of a large Joseph Guarnerius. 
The work is thoroughly British in character sober and solid. 
In some instances he slightly exaggerated the proportions of 
Del Gesu, but the result is never displeasing, the artistic sense 
being too highly developed in Ritchie to tolerate anything 
bordering on the grotesque. He used Whitelaw^s varnish, 
mostly of a red, or golden red colour. He was in the front 
rank of modern Scottish makers, and his beautiful work will 
be highly valued in the future. 

[N.B. A further analysis of this maker's work will be 
given in the next edition. Unfortunately the notes containing 
full particulars of his life and work have been mislaid.] 

ROOK, JOSEPH, London : 1775-1830. He made 
fairly good copies of Stainer and Amati, on the Forster lines. 
The tone in some instances was very good. 

ROSS, DONALD, Edinburgh, contemporary. He was 
born in Ederton, Ross-shire, Feb. I, 1817. He has made 
about fifty violins on the Maggini model. The workmanship 


and tone in his best work are of average merit. Ross claims 
to have repaired over a thousand instruments in his time, 
although he does not work professionally. He is a kind old 
gentleman, of very modest demeanour. 

ROSS, JOHN, London: c. 1560-1600. A maker of 
lutes and viols. 

RUDDIMAN, JOSEPH, Aberdeen: 1760-1800. I 
regret that I have never succeeded in coming across a single 
specimen of this maker's work. It would be easy, but not to 
the purpose, to rewrite what others have written about him. 

SAUNDERS, S., Twickenham, contemporary. He was 
born at Winterbourne, Dauntsey, on April 27, 1840. He 
was educated at the village National School, and remained 
at his native place till he was twenty years of age. He then 
entered the service of the South-Western Railway Company 
at Nine Elms, and, after shifting about to various places, 
eventually settled at Twickenham. He made his first violin 
in 1883, since which time he has been constantly engaged 
with the gouge and calipers, producing several really good 
instruments, although he still ranks himself as an amateur. 
He makes on three different models, two of Strad and one of 
Joseph. Many years ago he was fortunate in procuring the 
friendship of Dr. Selle of Richmond, through whose in- 
strumentality he was enabled to see and examine several 
Italian instruments. Dr. Selle was himself the owner of a 
fine long Strad, which was always at the service of Mr. 
Saunders, and the several copies which he has made of this 
fiddle are highly creditable. 

Mr. Saunders exhibited four violins at the Surbiton Indus- 
trial Exhibition, held in 1889, and was awarded the silver 
medal. The judge, M. L. de Edgvil, bought one of these 
instruments at ^5, los. He uses no label, but stamps his 


name in Roman characters on the bare wood of the back 
outside under the button. 

SHAW, JOHN, London : c. 1650. 
SHAW, J., Manchester, contemporary. 

SHAW, THOMAS, Cove, contemporary. An amateur 
of good average ability. 

SHEPHERD, H. G., Brighton, contemporary. 
SHEPLEY, GEORGE, Bristol : nineteenth century. 

SHERDON, DANIEL, Gloucester : nineteenth century. 

SHROSBREE, HENRY JAMES, Adelaide, S. Australia, 
contemporary. In the opinion of Australian experts, this 
maker produces work which is of quite an exceptional character. 
I am not in a position to either endorse or dispute that claim, 
and I therefore reproduce here an article written in the April 
number of Music (an Adelaide monthly), 1897, giving an 
account of the life and work of this maker : 

" Mr. H. J. Shrosbree, of Adelaide, known as a maker and 
repairer of violins of exceptional ability, was born in London 
in December 1858. From 1872 till the end of 1880 he 
followed a seafaring life, voyaging to Adelaide for the second 
time in the latter year, when he entered the service of Sir 
E. T. Smith, and remained with him till his retirement from 
business. Mr. Shrosbree does not claim to belong to a family 
of violin-makers, as his father was a taxidermist, in whose art 
the subject of this notice also duly qualified. On leaving Sir 
Edwin Smith's employ, Mr. Shrosbree entered that of Mr. 
Lawrence, the well-known Adelaide taxidermist, who says of 
him that he understands all branches of this work. Ample 
proof of this was seen in 1891, when he was awarded first 
prize and certificate of merit for a very fine exhibit at the 
Adelaide Exhibition of Art and Industry. But the violin, 


Mr. Shrosbree's favourite musical instrument, has had a great 
charm for him through life, and all his spare time for years 
was spent in the study of music and the mechanism of the 
violin. He has made some excellent specimens, which were 
awarded first prize and certificate of merit for workmanship, 
model, and tone at the 1895 Exhibition of Art and Industry 
in Adelaide. That year's competition in violins was the 
largest yet held in Australia. Mr. Shrosbree is a practical 
musician and good violinist, and as an expert on model and 
tone is able to tell at a glance the method to adopt for restoring 
an old instrument. The profession recognise him both as a 
skilful repairer and a maker unrivalled in Australia, and as a 
self-taught man he is to be congratulated on his success. His 
instruments produce a fine rich Italian tone. 

" He has invented a ' relieving bar system ' for repairing 
violins, by which the bars must be located with mathematical 
accuracy. After years of labour and considerable cost Mr. 
Shrosbree has discovered the varnish which he uses on his 
violins, and which is pronounced by experts to be second to 
none. Besides a valuable testimonial signed by many of the 
leading musicians of Adelaide, in which Mr. Shrosbree is 
recognised as a practical musician and first-class violin-maker, 
he holds others from a number of eminent artists and well- 
known members of the profession." 

An eminent critic writes of one of Shrosbree's violins as 
follows : " A severe trial of Mr. Shrosbree's latest violin re- 
veals the fact that a more perfect or finely-finished instrument 
it would seem almost impossible to possess. It is fuller in 
model than any of his previous ones, giving to it that sonorous 
tone-quality which is all the more surprising when on playing 
in the different positions (even to the highest of them) it does 
not affect that gentle refinement of tone when any delicacy is 
required. This important feature is not generally the case 
with new violins. The archings are most beautifully worked 
out, pronouncing it by its appearance a product of art. In 
quality of tone the lower strings resemble the rich qualities of 
the clarinet in all its power and endurance, while the notes 


throughout the A and E strings are particularly clear and 
brilliant. In fact, it seems difficult to believe when playing 
upon it that the tones produced are not those from a well- 
matured instrument. The art of purfling has always been a 
time of anxiety to a maker when finishing his work. But in 
this Mr. Shrosbree is remarkably clever, laying it in so finely 
as to make it almost impossible to believe that such delicate 
work can be accomplished by hand. The wood is of the 
finest, specially imported for Mr. Shrosbree by Messrs. S. 
Marshall & Sons, and when varnished should look very 

The editor of Music, referring to Mr. Shrosbree's success at 
the Adelaide Exhibition, 1900, spoke of the award as follows : 

"The commendatory references we have from time to 
time made to Mr. H. J. Shrosbree's skill as a luthier, have 
been very amply confirmed by the judges for musical instru- 
ments, &c., at the Century Exhibition (Messrs. Hermann 
Schrader, A. C. Quin, and Thos. Grigg). Mr. Shrosbree's 
exhibit comprised his Nos. 7 and 8 violins, his recently con- 
structed viola, and some assorted bridges. With their brilliant 
coatings of oil amber varnish the instruments certainly make a 
splendid show, and the awards given Mr. Shrosbree are as 
follow : First for violins, first for viola, first for musical 
appliances (bridges), and a special prize for the best exhibit in 
its group." 

Mr. Shrosbree charges, and, it would appear, receives 
readily, the high price of 50 for a violin. He makes a 
speciality of bridges, made of very old wood. I use one of 
these, and I like it very much. Facsimile label : 

Jaracs j%0sbm. facubat r^pr^ 


iB v 


SIMPSON, JAMES & SON, London : 1780-1800. I 
cannot discover that they were actual makers, but only dealers 
who employed others to make for them. 


SIMPSON, THOMAS, Hands-worth, contemporary. He 
was born at Burnley, Dec. 28, 1866, and works at 55 Thorn- 
hill Road, Handsworth. His model is original. The work- 
manship is good, and the tone bright and clear. I do not 
care for his varnish. His wood is excellent both in appearance 
and tonal qualities. Facsimile label : 

fecit Dei gloria? 

: No. 

SINCLAIR, WILLIAM, New Pitsligo, contemporary. 
An amateur who turns out excellent work as regards tone. 
His one fault is that he exaggerates the salient features of 
Guarnerius in his copies of that maestro. This is a common 
fault with many Scottish makers. 

contemporary. Average merit. 

SMILLIE, ALEXANDER, Glasgow, contemporary. 
He was born at Hallside, Cambuslang, Jan. 25, 1847. His 
workshops are at 130 Shamrock Street, and 514 Victoria 
Street, Glasgow, where also he carries on extensive business 
as a repairer and dealer. He is the son of John and Margaret 
Smillie. He was married April 27, 1876, to Janet Andrews, 
at Cordonald, near Paisley. He has six children three sons 
and three daughters viz., John, Andrew, Alexander, Margaret, 
Nellie, and Bessie. 

The second son, Andrew, has started work with him since 
the recent opening of the new premises in the West end. 
Mr. Smillie received elementary education at the Cambuslang 
Parish School, but he received no early training in the art of 
violin-making. His first instrument was not made till 1889, 


but since then he has been pretty busy, seeing that he has 
turned out 1 60 violins, 15 violas, and 13 violoncellos. These 
instruments show excellent work, and they place Smillie in the 
front rank of modern makers. 

He works on the Stradivarius and Guarnerius lines, but he 
is not a mere copyist. 

The measurements of the outline and model after which 
he most frequently works are as follows : 

Length of body ..... 144 inches. 

Width across upper bouts . . . 6$ 

middle bouts . . . 4^ 

lower bouts . . . 8 

Length of C's 3 > 

sound-holes, from wing angle to 

wing angle .... i| 

Depth of ribs at bottom . . . . ij > 

>, , top i^ 

Elevation of back and belly from | in. to . ^ 

Distance between sound-holes at top . . if 

Mr. Smillie cuts his backs on the various methods, accord- 
ing to the nature of the wood he happens to be using. In two 
of the instruments examined by me it was cut on the slab, 
and it is difficult to imagine anything more beautiful than the 
effect produced. When the fiddle is held horizontally, the eye 
is dazzled by cloud-like coruscations of golden sheen ; and when 
it is tilted to an angle of forty-five degrees, the clouds are meta- 
morphosed into a hundred " milky ways." Given a piece of 
suitable wood, of ample width, a back cut on the slab is second 
to none in artistic merits. 

This maker uses old wood, especially for the front tables, 
and, as he is able to test it acoustically, it is invariably of 
excellent quality. The grain of some of the pine is very wide. 
In an example now before me, it is exactly of an inch wide 
towards the margins straight, and well-defined. On either 
side of the finger-board, and running into the long axis of the 
sound-holes, is a narrow line of light-brown stain, extending 
right along the instrument. The stain was probably produced 



by an unusual colouring of the cambium cells during growth. 
As several of Mr. Smillie's instruments show traces, more or 
less pronounced, of this stain, their tables must have been cut 
from the same piece of timber. 

The outline combines the graceful and the bold. The 
waist is full, and rapidly extending in width as it approaches 
the lower bouts. This gives a sense of solidity to the build as 
it also adds to the firmness and roundness of tone. The arching 
is moderately full and extended. The upper bouts are more 
rounded than is usual with Strad, but a nice balance is thus ob- 
tained between the upper and middle parts of the instrument. 

The scroll is magnificently sculptured. The coulisses or 
grooves round the back and head are deep, and the lines very 
sharp. The lines of the volute are also sharp and cut with 
mathematical precision. The throat is as carefully finished as 
the head. The peg-box is strong, with sides about % of 
an inch thick. The scollop projects a trifle more than it 
usually does in Italian instruments, but it befits the scroll. The 
button is of medium size and in the best classical style. The 
sound-holes are simply beautiful. They are moderately wide, 
and just a shade shorter than the grand period holes of Strad. 
The upper turns are also rather smaller, but very pretty. 
They are set farther away from the edge than is usual with 
Strad, and about -fa (or more) of an inch lower down, 
and they do not incline so much the angle of inclination 
being about eighty degrees. The sound-holes ar* set in with 
a true artistic feeling, and the effect produced on the mind in 
viewing the general appearance of the front table is that of 
repose and freedom. 

The purfling is inlaid with accuracy. The margins are of 
medium width, and the edges strong and rounded. The depth 
of the edge is T 3 of an inch, and it is raised about -Jg-, culmi- 
nating midway between the outer line and the purfling in a 
very pretty and gentle ridge. The corners are in the style of 
Riechers, with the "wasp's sting" of the purfling reaching 
very nearly to the inner angles. 

Mr. Smillie's 'cellos are considered to be equal to, if not 


better than, his violins. Their tone is grand and mellow, and 
remarkably free and full on all the positions. 

Mr. Smillie has never exhibited any of his instruments. 
He is a patient, unassuming worker, and the spirit of rivalry is 
foreign to his nature. His rare humour and genial manner 
have made him numerous friends in the great fiddle world. 
Facsimile label : 

/Q00 t 


SMITH, A. E., Maldon, contemporary. A young beginner 
whose work is full of excellent promise. Facsimile label : 


contemporary. Stradivari and Guarneri models. Good tone. 
Label : 


HOC FECIT, 1898 

SMITH, HENRY, London : c. 1630. A maker of viols. 

SMITH, JOHN, Glasgow, contemporary. He was born 
at Fauldhouse, Linlithgowshire, April 26, 1859, and he works 
now at 40 Garthland Drive, Dennistoun, Glasgow. He 
worked for ten years at 28 Cockburn Street, Falkirk, where 
he made about fifty violins and a few violas and violoncellos. 
He is a pupil of John Carr, music teacher and violin-maker, of 
Falkirk. Mr. Smith is amongst the three or four who form 
the vanguard of the army of modern Scottish makers. He 


works on various models, but chiefly on one of his own adop- 
tion, the measurements of which are as follows : 

Width across upper bouts . 
middle bouts . 
,, lower bouts . 
Length of sound-holes 
C't . 

. . . 6- 
. 4| 

' ' 3A 

Depth of lower rib . 
upper rib . 

The arching is a trifle more pronounced than in the works 
of Strad and Joseph, and is almost in the manner of Gasparo 
da Salo. There is also a strong Brescian feeling about the 
sound-holes, only they are of a type distinctly more advanced 
than those of the old school. The angle of inclination of 
the sound-holes, and their quasi-Gothic upper arch, lend this 
part of the work freshness and vigour which catch the eye 
of the expert. 

The work is beautifully finished, and the varnish carefully 
laid on and highly polished. A feature worthy of special 
notice is the shoulder, or base of neck, which is finished in a 
manner that enables the player to shift with comfort and ease. 
Too much attention cannot be paid to violin construction 
from the player's point of view, with due regard, of course, to 
the harmony of form and proportion. Mr. Smith's scroll is a 
magnificent piece of carving, and reveals strength of mind 
and mastery of the gouge. The tone is large and incisive, 
and when time and use have mellowed it down, it will, no 
doubt, be rich and sonorous. Facsimile label : 



The colour of the label paper is dark yellow. 



SMITH, JOHN HEY, Burnley, contemporary. I have 
not seen any of his work. 

SMITH, NATHANIEL, Bristol, contemporary. In- 

SMITH, PYE, Hereford, contemporary. Fairly good 
work, but poor tone. 

SMITH, THOMAS, London: 1745-90. He was a 
pupil and successor of Peter Wamsley. Some writers have 
bestowed great praise on his violoncellos, but I am in- 
clined to think that they have never drawn a bow across 
their strings. Those which I tried had a hard, rasping tone 
that set one's teeth on edge. The workmanship is not bad, 
although the varnish is rather poor stuff, of a dirty amber, or 
brownish-yellow colour. He used various labels. 

SMITH, W. F., Edinburgh, contemporary. Average 

SMITH, WILLIAM, Hedon : 1780-1805. Average 

SMITH, WILLIAM, Leeds, contemporary. Indifferent. 

SPIERS, STEWART, Ayr : 1805-70. Good work and 

SPICER, JOHN, London : c. 1667. That he was a 
maker of stringed instruments is a mere conjecture. 

SPICER, WILLIAM, London : nineteenth century. 

STANLEY, ROBERT A., Manchester, contemporary. 
He was born in Manchester, Nov. 14, 1860, and works 
at present at 87 City Road. He is a pupil of James Barrow, 
of Salford, and of James Cole, of Manchester. He has made 
two hundred violins, and a few violoncellos and double-basses 


on an original model. He uses very good wood, and an oil 
varnish of his own make. Facsimile label : 


IDiolin & Bow 


STIRRAT, DAVID, Edinburgh : 1810-20. I have 
never had the good fortune to see an example of this maker's 
work. He died at an early age, and there are probably but 
few specimens remaining of what were according to reliable 
accounts genuine works of art. 

STREETS, JAMES, Sunderland, contemporary. An 
amateur who has made several violins and one or two violas 
of excellent workmanship and tone. A viola made by him in 
the year 1901 would do credit to a professional maker of long 
standing. It is a pity he cannot afford to turn his attention 
altogether to the art, for although the profession is already 
overcrowded, still there is always room for the born artist. 

STRONG, JOHN, Somersetshire: c. 1650. An old 

STRONG, MATTHEW, Huddersfield, contemporary. 
Average merit. 

STURGE, H., Bristol and Huddersfield : 1800-60. A 

TARR, WILLIAM, Manchester: 1808-91. He was 
born at Manchester, Feb. 21, 1808, and baptized a few days 
later at St. Mary's Church, of the same city. He was 
apprenticed by his father (a fustian cutter, who had himself 
made several instruments, including violins, 'cellos, and basses) 


to a cabinet carver, and he became so expert a workman that 
at the age of eighteen he purchased his indentures from his 
master for 100, and he at once commenced work as a 
journeyman. At this age his parents became dependent upon 
him, and he maintained them for the rest of their lives. 
Having studied music, and desiring to play the double-bass, he 
set about making one for his own use. Two of his friends 
becoming aware of the fact persuaded him to make one for 
each of them also. So soon as these were completed, the one 
which he had made for himself was so eagerly coveted by 
another friend that he must needs let it go. And so it 
happened with nine others all made in sets of three, with 
corners like a violin he was not able to keep one of them for 
himself. Thus, although he had made twelve basses, he was 
still without a bass for his own use. Previous to the time 
when Tarr took up the gouge, there was not a single privately 
owned bass in Manchester, the only ones in use being the 
property of churches and theatres. A curious circumstance 
illustrating this fact is that a man who played the bass in the 
Old Theatre Royal for forty-nine years never had a bass in 
his own house. The instrument he played upon is now the 
property of Mr. W. H. Stewart, principal bass of the Crystal 
Palace. This instrument it was that created in Tarr a first 
longing to make and play one, and he was often seen in the 
gallery listening to its tones. 

His business, subsequently, gradually resolved itself into that 
of violin- and bass-making, chiefly the latter, with that of 
repairing. He worked till he was about eighty years of age, 
and turned out two hundred and six basses, besides a number 
of violins, violas, and 'cellos. His eldest son was with him in 
the business till his eighteenth year, when he left home. 
Another son, Joseph, was also a violin-maker, and is now, I 
believe, in America. His youngest son, Shelley, is in business 
in Manchester. Tarr also built a number of organs and 
pianofortes, and took out several patents for his inventions in 
this line. At this time he had James Cole as pupil and 


On the occasion of a great festival in Dublin, where Tarr 
was playing, each of the nine basses used were of his make. 
He was an excellent musician, and was for twelve years one 
of the bassists of the Gentlemen's Concerts orchestra, which 
was the nucleus from which Sir Charles Hall formed his. 

He was twice married, and had eleven children of each 
wife, in all eleven sons and eleven daughters, and in 1884 
there were eleven of them living. He travelled a great deal 
in his lifetime, principally in the United States. Whilst in 
New Orleans he played in the theatre orchestra along with 
one of the sons of William Foster. 

He was also for some time organist of one of the churches 
there. Tarr was during the latter and greater part of his life 
a prominent secularist, socialist, and anti-vaccinator. Still he 
numbered amongst his friends many priests and ministers, who 
alike valued his friendship and upright character. He was a 
fair Latin scholar, and was proud to speak of his father as one 
of the best Latin scholars in the city in his day. It may be 
cited here as an instance of the esteem in which he was held 
that a gentleman for whom he had done work, gave him a 
small annuity for the last ten or twelve years of his life. He 
adhered faithfully to his principles in the face of many diffi- 
culties. At the age of sixty he went seven days to prison 
rather than have his youngest child vaccinated, and would not 
allow any one to pay the fine, although many of his friends 
were anxious to do so. 

He was a conscientious and a diligent worker. For the 
long stretch of sixty years he handled his gouge and turned 
out some really fine basses. These instruments are scattered 
all over the country ; some are abroad, and not a few now 
bear forged labels and pass as Italian instruments. 

Writers on the violin have done him scant justice, or no 
justice at all, and he felt it very keenly. Writing under date 
of Sept. n, 1884, to his pupil and friend Mr. J. W. Briggs, 
of Glasgow, he says : " Hart has published another edition of 
his work, but my name is still not to be seen in it. And yet 
Cole my pupil has a line ! It is somewhat strange." 


Towards the end of 1886 he began to feel the weight 
of the heavy hand of adversity. He writes : " There will be 
a change very soon, as I cannot pay the rent . . . are still on 
my hands, and they keep me very poor . . . says he will 
enlist if something does not turn up in a day or two. I wish 
he would, much as I despise the army. 1 ' 

On laying down his tools he writes: "I have had a 
desperate struggle to give up the idea of working [May 1886], 
but it is all over now. I am totally incapable, and am more 
reconciled (necessitas non habet legem] ; so farewell work, my 
greatest joy ! Farewell, my valued tools we have cut our 
way together so long, but now we must part a severe 
parting ! " How simple and pathetic ! 

The following, written shortly after the above, shows his 
continued passion for his beloved art. "To-morrow I shall 
have another double-bass here, made out of the same wood 
(back and ribs) as yours. I made it for Father O'Toole, a 
Roman Catholic priest, in 1854, who has presented it to 
another priest, Father Callagham. Father Callagham says the 
bass is worth ^40. The instrument will remain here till 
Saturday morning, and I should like you (i.e. Briggs) to see 
it. ... Joe is making another violin for the Exhibition, and 
Shelley has bought wood for a 'cello ! Joe feels determined 

shall not filch away the gold medal as he did at for 

work which was not his own." 

When at deaths door, leaning on the arm of his first love 
the fiddle he says : " My dear friend Briggs, I shall not 
be able to visit you again, I am so feeble. ... I am sorry to 
say my daughter Eleanor died on the 23rd, and was buried on 
the 2yth, of last month. My eldest daughter became a widow 
on the ist of May last. . . . Leaving these sorrows, let us 
come back to the tenor. I have sufficient confidence in your 
knowledge of construction to leave it entirely in your hands. 
When finished, send your bill and I shall be glad to pay." 

Sorrows were to him but passing clouds on the bright 
firmament of violin-making. 

He possessed a remarkable memory for fiddles. It was as 


infallible as that of William Ebsworth Hill. On one occasion 
his friend Briggs took him to see another friend of theirs in 
Wakefield, who, unknown to either, possessed a Tarr bass, 
and as soon as they entered the room Tarr exclaimed, "I 
remember that bass well. There is a flash in the base of the 
neck, and I had a devil of a job to keep it from springing 
out." He had not seen that bass for forty years ! 

He died on July 10, 1891, and was buried with secular 
rights in the Southern Cemetery, Manchester, on St. Swithin's 

TAYLOR, B., London : c. 1750. Good work. 

TENNANT, JAMES, Lesmahagow : nineteenth cen- 
tury. Indifferent. 

THOMAS, WATKIN, Swansea, contemporary. 

c. 1780. They were the sons of Robert Thompson, and 
succeeded him in business. It is not certain that they made 
many instruments themselves ; they were chiefly dealers. 

THOMPSON, ROBERT, London: 1749-64. He 
worked at the sign of the " Bass-violin," in St. Paul's Church- 
yard. Good average work on the Stainer model. 

THORNLEY, , Oldham : nineteenth century. 

THORNE, W. H., Tottenham, contemporary. An 
amateur who has made only a few violins. One of these had 
most peculiar sound-holes, but a good tone. 

TIFFIN, MILLER, Carlisle, contemporary. 
TILLEY, THOMAS, London : c. 1770. 

TOBIN, RICHARD, Dublin and London : 1787-1841. 
According to his own account he was born a few miles out 
of Dublin. His love for the fiddle dated back to early child- 



hood, when he often heard its strains at merry-makings, wakes, 
&c. As a lad he was fond 
of making fiddles out of all 
sorts of boxes, &c. At the 
age of fourteen he made a 
fairly good instrument out 
of a willow block. This 
he sold to a neighbouring 
fiddler, who shortly after 
brought it to Perry and 
Wilkinson. Old Perry 
was struck with the work- 
manship of the embryo 
fiddle-maker, and sent word 
that he would teach him 
violin-making if he came 
to him. Needless to say, 
young Tobin accepted the 
invitation. This was about 
1802, and Tobin remained 
with the Dublin firm eleven 
years. He soon became a 
very clever workman, and 
he made the majority of 
these magnificent instru- 
ments which brought fame 
and money to the house of 
Perry & Wilkinson. In 
1813 he came to London, 
and found his way to the 
workshop of " old " Betts, 
who was quick to discover 
his abilities, and employed 
him till his (Betts') death in 

1823. Tobin was eccentric EXACT OUTLINE OF SCROLL BY TOBIN ' 

(Actual size.) 
and intemperate, and often 

tried the temper of Betts to the breaking point. When he had 


saved up a little money and kept sober for perhaps three months 
at a stretch, the mania for drink would break out afresh, and he 
would go off on a fortnight or three weeks' carouse, till he had 
spent all his savings. When at work he was busy and of a most 
incommunicative turn of mind. He worked very fast, and 
would finish a scroll inside of two hours. The few instru- 
ments which bear his label are exceedingly handsome copies of 
Stradivari or Guarnerius, and they have a rich and mellow 
tone. The best instruments of the Dublin firm were made 
by him, as were also many of the choicest violins which bear 
the label of Betts. I do not think there are a dozen violins in 
existence which bear the label of Tobin himself, and I have 
not seen more than two. His scrolls are superb ; never did 
Antonio Stradivari cut better, as the accompanying illustration 
will testify. 

TORRING, L., London : 1 800-10. He repaired chiefly. 

TRIMNELL, JOSEPH HENRY, Birmingham, con- 
temporary. Indifferent. 

TUBES, JAMES & SON, London, contemporary. A 
bow-maker. He works at 94 Wardour Street, and is the 
pupil of his father. His bows are considered to be superior to 
the best that are made to-day. 

TURNER, WILLIAM, London: c. 1650. A viol- 

TUSON, ROBERT, Gravestown, contemporary 
TWEEDY, J., Acklington, contemporary. 


URQUHART, ALEXANDER, Invergordon, con- 
temporary. He was born at Balblair, in the parish of Resolis, 
near Invergordon, Oct. 7, 1867. He is an amateur of artistic 


tastes who turns out an occasional fiddle of excellent work- 
manship and tone. He follows the usual models, and also 
works on original lines. 

Facsimile inscription (on bare wood) : 

URQUHART, DONALD, Tain, N.B., contemporary. 
He was born at Balblair, near Invergordon, on Aug. 17, 
1859, an ^ educated at Jaminaville Free Church school, in the 
parish of Resolis. He has received no training in violin- 
making, but his highly developed sense of the beautiful, and 
masterly deftness in the handling of keen-edged tools, have 
enabled him to overcome the difficulties of the art. He 
commenced to make fiddles fifteen years ago, and also to 
experiment in varnish. Since then the varnish question has 
occupied a great deal of his attention, and it must be said that 
he has succeeded in producing an oil varnish of great beauty 
and lustre. This is made in three shades, dark yellow, light 
orange, and deep orange red. The colour is absolutely 
permanent in the strongest sunlight. During the varnishing 
the instruments are exposed to the full blaze of the sun from 
April to September in a conservatory window, where the 
thermometer on sunny days registers 125 degrees (Fahr.). 
The colour is not affected in the least if anything, it be- 
comes more lustrous after this fiery ordeal. The one draw- 
back of the varnish is that, being so tough and elastic, it is 
exceedingly difficult to polish, and takes months to dry even 
in the strongest sunlight, but Mr. Urquhart succeeds in giving 
it a perfectly polished surface. 

The outline and arching are those of a full-sized Strad. 
The sound-holes are modified. The scroll is altogether 
original and a most graceful piece of work. Its chief 
differentiating characteristic is the deep scooping of the volute 


and the consequent boldness of its axis. In no other maker 
have I observed this peculiarity turned to advantage. The 
wood of the back is of the usual description and of good 
quality, whilst that of the belly is really fine. The " reed " 
of the pine in the two specimens I examined is fully one- 
seventh of an inch wide, and is even throughout. 

The edges are strong, and the margin full. The thick- 
nesses are carefully graduated and the instruments are left 
strong in wood. The inside is finished so finely that the 
wood has a polish, and there is not a suspicion of the presence 
of glue lines. 

The tone, although not powerful, is sweet and mellow. 
On the D and A strings it is fine. The first octave on the 
third string has the juicy richness of the Chalumeau in the 
clarionet. Had Urquhart succeeded in getting power along 
with this characteristic, he would have created something 
new in violin tone, which is about as possible, perhaps, as 
the existence of a pair of contradictories which are com- 
patible with regard to both truth and falsehood. Facsimile 
label : 

URQUHART, THOMAS, London: 1650-80. The 
best part of the work is the varnish, which very closely 
resembles the Italian varnish. I have seen only one genuine 
violin of his make, which was much arched, and had a sweet 
but very small tone. 


VAUGHAN, DAVID ROBERT, Chester, contem- 
porary. He was born at Mold, Aug. 6, 1860. He follows 


the Stradivari model, and makes instruments of good average 
merit as regards workmanship and tone. 

VICKERS, RICHARD, Bath : nineteenth century. 

VOYLE, BENJAMIN, Gower : 1860-87. Average 


WADE, JOSEPH, Leeds : nineteenth century. 
WADE, WILLIAM, Leeds : nineteenth century. 

WALKER, H. J., Whitby, contemporary. His instru- 
ments are said to be very good. 

WALKER, HECTOR M., Liverpool, contemporary. 
He has made a few violins experimentally. 

WALTON, WILLIAM, Preston, contemporary. He 
was born at Longton, Aug. 7, 1860, and he now lives at 
Howick Station, Longton, near Preston. He is the son of 
Henry and Jane Walton, and is the eldest child of a family of 
ten. He was educated at the national school of his native 
village! In the year 1871 he was sent to work in a cotton-mill, 
where he remained till he was twenty. In 1880 he joined 
the railway service, where he steadily worked himself up 
through the various grades till, in 1889, he was appointed 
stationmaster of Howick, a rapidly growing district. He 
was married on October 18, 1884, at Saul Street Chapel, 
Preston, to Alice, daughter of Lawrence Hunt, of Hoole. 
He has three children, named Jane, John, and Alice Hunt. 

He commenced violin-making en amateur in 1887, and 
since then he has turned out one or two instruments every 
year, besides repairing a great number. In 1893 he became 
interested in the varnish question, and was soon deep in 
experiment. With the help of a friendly chemist he at last 


succeeded in producing an amber oil varnish of excellent pate 
and lustre. This splendid solution is elastic, tough, and 
beautifully transparent. It consists of pure amber in solution 
in oil, with the colour developed (not added) during the 

Mr. Walton uses beautiful wood of excellent properties. 
In one instance he has used Oregon pine for the belly, and 
the result compares very favourably with that of more orthodox 
material. He works on the Joseph lines from drawings pub- 
lished by Mr. Honeyman, on the Strad lines after the outlines 
of Riechers, and also on an original outline and model. The 
measurements of the last are as follows : 

Length of body . . . .14! inches. 

Width across upper bouts . . . 6f 

middle bouts .... 4 || 

lower bouts . . . 8J 

Length of sound-holes .... i\^ 

Distance between sound-holes . . . iy 

Length of C' ...... 3 ,, 

Depth of ribs at bottom . '.' . . i^ 

, top. .- + . . i t \ 

model at bridge . . . 2 iV 

Mr. Walton is a born artist, and his workmanship is 
magnificent. There is a breadth of conception coupled with 
tenderness of expression about the work which gives it the 
air of dignified art. The scroll is thrown with vigour, and 
the mind is free from suggestions of effort in following the 
graceful lines of the volute. The same easy flow is observed 
in the upper and lower turns of the sound-holes. The curve 
of the model along the longitudinal axes (back and belly) 
reminds one of the gentle, natural arch of a cord in vibration. 
The purfling is wide and bold, the margins a little narrow, 
and the edges round and strong. The corners of the Strad 
copies have not the Riechers characteristics, being a shade 
longer, and cut cleanly and square. The button is full, and is 
perhaps the very tiniest bit too long in proportion to its width 


in fact, if it were gently toned down about one thirty-second 
all round, it would be more in keeping with the highly graceful 
lines of the original model. The work of this maker merits 
criticism only from the highest standpoint. In works of the 
third or even second order, a sixteenth of an inch in any one 
part, more or less, is immaterial to the physiognomy of the 
fiddle. Not so in work of the kind under our consideration. 

The most scrupulous care should be paid to the smallest 
matter of detail. Nature is particular to the th, and so must 
art be if it would be natural. 

The tone of the two instruments submitted for my in- 
spection is very similar in both cases, and has fulness, equality, 
sympathy, and carrying power. Facsimile label : 

"' J ' w 'jy^^ 


3 ~ v* MAKER, 


A.D., 1901 N l/^j 


WAMSLEY, PETER, London: 1715-51. The par- 
ticulars given respecting this old maker in other books are, 
unfortunately, all that can be picked up from the dust of the 
past. I have nothing new to add, and therefore had better 
not say anything. 

WARD, , Dublin : nineteenth century. 

WARDLAW, RICHARD, Cardiff, contemporary. An 
amateur of average attainments. 

WARRICK, A., Leeds, contemporary. He was born at 
Reading, Oct. 9, 1863, and has his workshops at 61 Wood- 
house Lane, Leeds, and at 24 Church Bank, Bradford. He 
served a six-years' apprenticeship, from 1884 to 1890, with 
G. A. Chanot of Manchester. He works on various models, 



but chiefly on those of Stradivari and Guarneri. He does not 
attempt to work on original lines, or to modify the model in 
any way ; he is a close copyist, and concentrates all his 
energy upon the exact reproduction of outline, arching, depth, 
thicknesses, &c., of the originals. He uses excellent wood, 
and the work is beautifully finished throughout. The varnish 
is his own composition, made in four colours, golden yellow, 
reddish yellow, brown red, and ruby. It has much the same 
characteristics as the varnish traditionally associated with the 
house of Chanot. Warrick has made a large number of 
instruments, big and small, and he also repairs extensively. 
He was awarded the sole gold medal at the Leeds International 
Exhibition, 1895, for an exhibit of violins. 

His price for violins is twelve and fifteen guineas, and for 
violoncellos twenty. Facsimile label : 



WARWICK, REGINALD, Northampton, contempo- 
rary. Average ability. 

WATSON, FRANK, Rochdale, contemporary. He 
was born at Rochdale, Aug. 20, 1866. He is a pupil of 
the late J. Priestnall. When about thirteen years of age he 
had the misfortune to become affected with hip-joint disease, 
which invalided him for a long number of years, and it was 
during his convalescence that he got acquainted with Mr. 
Priestnall, and, becoming enamoured with the art of violin- 
making, was taught by him the method of construction. He 
ultimately started work on his own account, and up to date 
he has built seventy-three violins, one viola, and two 'cellos. 
He has also repaired a great number of instruments. He 
works chiefly on the Strad and Joseph outlines, and occa- 
sionally on an original model. The workmanship is good, 




and the tone large and telling. Watson is a skilled repairer. 
Facsimile label : 


jfranh IKHateon, 



WATSON, JOHN (Rev.), Lerwick, Shetland, con- 
temporary. A Presbyterian minister who has made several 
violins of excellent workmanship and tone. I cannot say that 
I like his model, but no fault can be found with any other 
part of the work. I have seen only one of his instruments 
the library walls of South Yell manse are lined with them 
which had a peculiar outline, but a very sweet and moderately 
powerful tone. 

WATT, ALEXANDER STOCKS, Inverkeithing, con- 
temporary. He was born in Edinburgh, Aug. 17, 1859. A 
gentleman amateur whose work is as beautiful as it is rare. 
A copy of the " Count Cessol " Stradivari made by him was 
amongst the finest for delicate workmanship that I have ever 
seen. He spends two, and sometimes three years over a 
single violin, but when it is finished it is an artistic gem. 
The tone is sweet and mellow. Facsimile label : 

WEAVER, SAMUEL, London : 1780-1800. Ordinary 

WHITELAW, JAMES, Glasgow, contemporary. He 
was born at Johnstone, in 1852, and he carries on business as 


a chemist at 496 St. George's Road, Glasgow. He is not a 
violin-maker, but he is the discoverer and manufacturer of the 
finest violin varnish on the market to-day, and as such he 
claims an honourable place in any dictionary of violin-makers. 
As in the case of Mr. Edward Heron- Allen, so in the present 
one, although Mr. Whitelaw does not make violins himself, 
still he has made it possible for others to make them. There 
are many amateur, and not a few professional, makers to-day 
who would never be able to finish their instruments as they 
do were it not for the diligent research and hard labour of 
this chemist. It is within my knowledge that many have 
been induced to take up the gouge mainly because there was 
within their reach a beautiful varnish at a moderate cost. I 
am not going to discuss the merits of the varnish here, as I 
have already done so, but it is necessary to give a short account 
of its discovery. I cannot do better than give the words of the 
discoverer himself, as quoted by Mr. William C. Honeyman 
in his *' Scottish Violin-Makers," p. 98. He says : 

"I was lying in bed on the last Sunday morning of 
February 1886, about five o'clock, I think. Whether I was 
asleep or awake I could never be certain. Suddenly my bed- 
room seemed transformed into an old-fashioned-looking kitchen, 
in which was a large dresser with a lighted candle at one end. 
Above the dresser, instead of crockery and household odds and 
ends, there were rows of fiddles hanging on the wall. While 
I was looking at this display of fiddles, a very tall and majestic 
man came into the kitchen. He had on a little round white 
cap and a white leather apron, his hair was nearly white, and 
in little crisp curls. He had beautiful grey eyes, and a very 
pleasant expression. He spoke to me, and I asked him about 
the violins on the wall. He said they had all been made in 
Cremona, and among other things told me about the varnish 
being a secret. 

" He now took down a violin from the wall, and, having 
removed the candle to the middle of the dresser, he held the 
violin up behind the flame at an angle of about forty-five 
degrees, and, moving it from side to side, he asked me if I could 


see the beautiful satin-like glint which followed the candle 
flame. I said * Yes.' * Well ! ' he said, * that is a peculiarity 
of the varnish.' After some further conversation I asked him 
if amber was used in making the varnish. He said 'It is 
amber varnish, and the solvents are lead and lime.' Just at 
that moment the vision disappeared, and I awakened and 
found that during the awakening ' lead and lime,' by some 
mysterious process, had in my mind become converted into 
two quite different substances. Impelled by curiosity I got 
up at once, and hurried to my shop. It was now 7 A.M. I 
hastily fitted together some odd pieces of apparatus sufficient 
for the experiment, and before 8.30 I had the satisfaction 
of knowing that I could dissolve amber without chemical 

" From the foregoing it can be seen that I had really very 
little to do with the discovery, and I cannot claim much 
credit on that point ; but, as I found out afterwards, it is 
one thing to dissolve amber but quite another matter to 
make it into a working varnish. It was fully a year before 
I had varnish to try on a violin, and nearly three years 
before I had a bottle ready for sale, so that the discovery 
was not completed without a considerable amount of trouble 
and anxiety." 

Mr. Whitelaw makes his varnish in nine different colours, 
viz. pale amber yellow, dark amber yellow, dark ruddy brown, 
orange, orange red, dark orange red, " Amati," pale ruby, and 
dark ruby. It is equally lustrous and transparent in all the 
colours, and it is difficult to conceive how a more beautiful 
varnish can ever be made. Mr. Whitelaw is a gentleman of 
high artistic tastes, and an art critic of recognised authority. 

WHITESIDE, HENRY, Liverpool and Solva : 1749- 
1824. H C made many violins in Fontenoy Street, Liverpool, 
and afterwards at Solva, Pembrokeshire. He was the famous 
builder of the Smalls lighthouse, and he established for himself 
a wide reputation in West Pembrokeshire a century ago as an 
engineer, musical instrument maker, and Merlin redivivus. 


The following particulars are culled from the Pembroke County 
Guardian for Nov. 18, 1899, from an article written some 
forty years previously : 

"... When the wishes of Mr. Phillips (the projector 
of the Smalls lighthouse) were made public, a great many 
persons sent in designs for a suitable erection to the com- 
mittee appointed by him to carry out his intentions, but pre- 
ference was given to the plans of a young man, a musical 
instrument maker, who was also engaged as its builder. 

" Mr. Henry Whiteside was a native of Liverpool ; he was 
born, it is believed, in Fontenoy Street, in the year 1746, 
where his parents possessed some houses, and which afterwards 
became his property. He possessed at an early age a mechanical 
taste, and was allowed to follow the bent of his inclination at 
the carpenter's bench. He soon gave his attention from a 
love and knowledge of music to the construction of violins, 
some of which are now in Pembrokeshire, and considered of 
great value ; afterwards he turned his skill to the building of 
spinets and upright harpsichords, in which he excelled, as 
the ones now extant prove. Mr. Whiteside had a brother 
named Gilbert, who was blind from his birth, and who 
possessed extraordinary powers as a musician. The desire 
of Mr. Gilbert Whiteside to alleviate the sufferings of those 
deprived of sight like himself was so great that he would even 
seek for, and wait upon them, week after week, and month 
after month, until he had made them masters of some musical 
instrument, either as a source of amusement or of income for 

" At the time Henry Whiteside came to Pembrokeshire to 
construct the lighthouse, in the summer of 1772, he was a very 
young man, scarcely twenty-six, and probably though a 
resident of such a considerable shipping port as Liverpool was 
even then a novice in nautical matters, with which he would 
eventually have much to do. His undertaking was a sudden 
transition from the sweet and harmonious sounds of his own 
musical instruments, to the rough surging of the Atlantic wave, 
and the discordant howling of a maddened hurricane ; and 


from the fastening of a delicately formed fiddle, to the fixing 
of giant oaken-pillars in a rock as hard as adamant ! 

"Tradition has it that Whiteside possessed a most inter- 
esting personality. Many tales are related of him. Here is a 
characteristic one : 

" * He once led a party of volunteers from Solva to oppose 
the French at Strumble Head. He rode a horse belonging to 
Mr. Barsey, of Lecha. While he feared nothing for himself, 
he feared much that the French aggressors would kill Mr. 
Barsey 's mare.' 

" His cleverness and persistent personality greatly impressed 
the simple-minded peasantry. He was, as a matter of course, 
said to be in league with his Satanic majesty, as all cleverness 
was believed by the people of Dyved to emanate from the 
nether regions. The lighthouse, although a device made to 
baffle the powers of darkness, was regarded as an extraordinarily 
successful piece of jugglery. 

" A story is told of a young woman, a Miss Rees, the only 
daughter of a farmer living near Llandruidion, who on paying 
the lighthouse a visit with several others, during its temporary 
erection, and viewing herself in the angular reflectors of the 
light-room, exclaimed, * People say that Georgy Rees has only 
one daughter, let them come here and they'll see that he has 
many. I am quite beside myself with the beauty of my 

" It is said that he often went out to the cliffs during a 
storm and tuned his fiddle to the wail of the wind. It is also 
said that he spent all his spare moments, when not occupied in 
constructing the lighthouse (or, after it was completed, in 
acting as agent to the establishment), in making harpsichords, 
spinets, and fiddles. 

" On his arrival in Solva, he lodged in the (Old) Ship Inn, 
at that time one of the two public-houses in Lower Solva, and 
indeed one of the four or five straw-thatched dwellings that 
then constituted the now important and improving place. 
The Old Ship stood where the establishment of the Messrs. 
Davies the Mariners' Inn now stands. It was kept by 


one William Bevan, whose youngest daughter, Martha, Mr. 
Whiteside married at Whitchurch, September 16, 1780. 

"On the 5th day of July, 1824, at the advanced age of 
78, and after a long illness, Mr. Whiteside died at his residence 
the Harbour House in Lower Solva. He was buried at 
Whitchurch, where the remains of his wife were also de- 
posited in 1832. Two plain tombstones are erected to their 

I have seen only one of his violins, which was a beautifully 
made copy of the grand Strad model, with somewhat Stainer- 
like sound-holes. The varnish was an oil one, of dark nut- 
brown colour, and of excellent quality. The tone was mellow 
and moderately powerful. It is said that well-nigh every farm- 
house in the Solva neighbourhood at one time possessed a 
Whiteside fiddle or harpsichord, but they are gone the way of 
all things perishable. 

WHITMARSH, EMMANUEL, London, contempo- 
rary. I cannot give any biographical particulars, but I have 
seen a great deal of his work. Nor am I certain that the 
present Emmanuel W^hitmarsh is the same that turned out 
excellent instruments some twenty-five or thirty years ago. 
The work does not seem to me to have the same charac- 
teristics. The present maker of that name makes princi- 
pally for the wholesale houses. The Messrs. Dawkins, of 
17 Charterhouse Street, Holborn Circus, have been his agents 
for some years past. The work is very carefully finished, and 
the tone usually clear, firm, and sweet. 

WHITTAKER, BUTTON &, Leeds : 1805-30. 

WIGAN, DAVID, Shrewsbury, contemporary. Average 

WIGHTMAN, GEORGE, London : c. 1760. 

WILKS, ALFRED, Manchester, contemporary. An 


WILLIAMS, ALFRED, Cheltenham, contemporary. 
He was born at Redditch, June 28, 1840, and he works at 
8 Great Western Road, Cheltenham. He has made a good 
number of instruments, which are of rather above average 
merit as regards workmanship, and very good as regards tone. 
He works on the two leading models, and inserts a differently 
worded label into each copy. Facsimile of one of the 
labels : 


WILLIAMS, BENJAMIN, Aberavon : 1768-1839. It 
is very remarkable that Wales, the land of song (" M6r o gdn 
yw Cymru gyd "), has produced so few violin-makers. This 
is probably due to the fact that she has cultivated vocal at the 
entire expense of instrumental music. The orchestra is all 
but nan est in Wales. But then, the Welsh people have ceased 
to be an artistic people. Even their bards to-day know no 
other art than that of cynghanedd, and it is even doubtful if a 
quasi-esoteric use of numbers be a sufficiently important art to 
command the homage of the best talent. And where the 
orchestra is an unknown quantity, the art of fiddle-making 
may be denoted by zero. 

The only Welsh fiddle-maker (barring a few who made 
sporadic and amateurish efforts) was Benjamin Williams of 
Aberavon, a joiner by trade. This maker was born in 1768, 
and died in 1839. He was buried in Michaelston-super- 
avan Churchyard, but there is no tombstone to mark his 
resting-place. His grandson, John Davies, now living at 
Ystrad, Rhondda Valley, who is seventy-five years of age, 
and who can remember his grandfather very well, says that 
Benjamin Williams was a tall, wiry, broad-browed man, 
with a patriarchal crop of snow-white hair and beard. He 


habitually wore a leathern apron and a skull-cap (Had he 
heard of old Antonio ?), and was much addicted to tobacco- 
chewing. He is said to have made about eighty fiddles and a 
few Welsh harps during leisure moments, when joinery work 
happened to be slack. 

Several of these fiddles are said to be in existence to-day, 
but I know of only three, one of which is in my possession. 
The following is a brief description of this last. 

The outline and model approximate to those of N. Amati. 
Probably the maker had a Duke fiddle as model, since the 
measurements are identical with those of a genuine Duke of 
the date 1768. The back is cut sur couche, and the wood is 
sycamore of rather plain figure. The pine of the belly is 
very fine and even-grained. The sound-holes are somewhat 
after the Stainer pattern. The scroll is much worn at the left 
boss of the volute, but it is thrown with a firm hand and full 
of decision and meaning. The varnish is a pale, straw- 
coloured one, elastic and transparent. The tone is not large, 
but it is sweet, round, and free. 

The instrument is the work of a man who knew how to 
handle his gouge and calipers. 

Williams obtained his pine from abroad, but he cut his 
sycamore in the Margam woods. He rubbed linseed oil and 
turpentine into his fiddles, and then hung them up for a long 
season to dry before varnishing them. The varnish is a spirit 
one, laid on in three or four thin coats. Williams was known 
locally as " Benny'r fiddler," as he was a player as well as a 
maker of fiddles. It is said that he played beautifully on one of 
his own make instruments, and that his services were frequently 
requisitioned at local weddings, dances, &c. He also, as needs 
would have it, wielded the magic wand, and a story is told of 
his laying a ghost at Penhydd by playing a certain tune on his 
fiddle at the haunted spot on three successive nights. 

The fiddle on which he then played was made specially for 
the occasion, and had its back of mountain-ash, and a drop of 
dragon's blood was mixed with the varnish. Tradition does 
not say whence he obtained this drop of blood. It was not the 


gum known by that name, for he did not use it, and this had 
no affinity to the methods of magic. Williams could write a 
beautiful hand, and no doubt his smattering of English and 
knowledge of about a dozen Latin words magnified him to 
Merlin-like proportions in the estimate of his fellows. 

Two local country-side fiddlers, lanto'r Garth and Deio 
Llantrisant, played upon fiddles of his make. Another noted 
village-green fiddler, Levi Gibbon, of Fishguard, played upon 
a Williams fiddle, and people who remember this really fine 
player (albeit humble) said his instrument had a tone like that 
of a flute. It is said that Williams won his spouse by the 
cunning of his bow. Ann Davies was a young woman of 
beauty, and the daughter of a well-to-do local farmer. The 
fiddle-maker wooed her, and wooed not in vain, though the 
young woman's parents resented the match. The fiddler's 
playing appealed to the heart of Ann, and, helped by the 
dignified bearing of his princely figure, was completely success- 
ful in making captive the maiden's heart. He would play in 
the wood opposite her dwelling, and the pathetic pleading 
of the notes borne on the wings of the breeze reached the ears 
of Ann, and brought her out to the sylvan retreats. During 
one of these rambles the vow was made, when both swore 
eternal love to the music of the fiddle. 

WILLIAMS, O. R., Manchester, contemporary. I have 
not seen any of his instruments. 

WILSON, JAMES L., Greenock, contemporary. He 
was born in Galston, April 13, 1847, and he works at 20 Octa- 
via Cottages, Greenock. He is not a professional maker, 
albeit his work has not a trace of the amateur about it. 
Nothing can be more true to the original than his copies of 
Gasparo da Sal6, nor more beautifully finished than his last 
half-a-dozen instruments. He got a few lessons in violin- 
making from the late John A. Mann, and being of an artistic 
turn of mind, he soon made progress. He can paint very 
fairly in oil and water-colours, and he generally draws a bust 
of himself with indelible ink on the back of the violin under 


the button. His work as an amateur violin-maker is of great 
merit, and will bring him considerable fame by-and-by if he 
perseveres with it. He won the gold medal for an exhibit 
of violins at the Greenock Exhibition, 1893. Facsimile 
inscription (no label) : 

WILTON, JAMES, Whitby, contemporary. He worked 
for H. J. Walker, of Whitby, for some time, but he now 
makes and repairs on his own account. Good average work 
and tone. 

WISE, CHRISTOPHER, London : c. 1656. He was 
chiefly a maker of viols, and made but few violins. 

WITHERS, EDWARD, London : 1808-75. He was 
born in London, Dec. 23, 1808, and died there Dec. 19, 1875. 
He was the son of Edward and Mary Ann Withers. He was 
not trained in the usual way, but he bought the business of 
R. & W. Davis, 31 Coventry Street, Haymarket, in the year 
1843, and thus started what proved to be a bright career in 
violin-making He followed the Strad and Guarnerius models 
exclusively, and made a large number of instruments, some of 
which, in point of workmanship and tone, will compare 
favourably with the best work of our classical school. He 
is the maker of the famous Withers' Quartet said to be 
the finest English quartet of instruments in existence, made 
previous to the year 1870. 

These instruments, from their importance, demand a brief 
notice. They were made between fifty and sixty years ago 
at the old premises, 31 Coventry Street. Somewhere near 
the period mentioned, the roof of the shop underwent repairs, 


and the builder's workmen had occasion to lay down a plank 
along the attic floor to walk upon. It chanced at the comple- 
tion of the repairs that the workmen forgot to remove this 
same plank, and one day old Mr. Withers finding his way 
into the attic, discovered it. He saw that it was maple, and 
as perfect a specimen of its kind as eyes could ever gaze upon. 
The story is soon told. The plank was transformed into 
[backs of] a quartet now the English quartet, par excellence. 
The instruments are beautifully coated in amber varnish. 
One of the fiddles has been sold and re-sold twice, realising 
each time 50. Its purchaser on one occasion was Mr. L. 
d'Egville, who presented it to Wilhelmj. The companion 
violin was sold at first for 30, but it realised later 120. 
The tenor was sold for 40, and the violoncello for 150. 

The present owner of the quartet is Mr. Edward Withers, 
of 22 Wardour Street, a son, and the representative of the 
firm. He says that the treasure shall never leave the family, 
but will be handed down the stages of time as a valued 
heirloom. Edward Withers had eight children four sons 
and four daughters two of whom are in the trade, and one 
of them, Mr. Edward Withers, noticed below, is an actual 
maker. He died at the age of sixty-seven, and was buried in 
Brompton Cemetery. Facsimile label : 

Edward Withers, 

WITHERS, EDWARD, London, contemporary. He 
was born in London, Oct. 22, 1844, and is the eldest son of 
the above Edward Withers. 

He received his early education at Fulham. He is the 


only pupil of his father and of John Lott, the well-known 
violin-maker. He commenced business at 31 Coventry 
Street, London, in 1856, and moved later to 22 Wardour 
Street. He worked with his father for a period of over 
twenty-five years, and during that time made many new 
instruments, and also executed nearly all the principal repairs 
that were entrusted to the firm. Mr. Withers copies exclu- 
sively the Stradivarius and Guarnerius models, using very old 
and carefully selected wood. His varnish is entirely oil, and 
varies in colour from amber to brown and red or golden red. 
His method of varnishing is unique. He always puts amber 
varnish on the wood and then hangs the fiddle up to dry for 
some years before putting the colour on. The colour is also 

He has made a large number of instruments, including 
violins, tenors, and violoncellos. He turns out on an average 
about twelve instruments per year. All these reach a high 
standard of excellence, and are characterised as much for their 
beautiful tone as for their exquisite appearance. His prices 
are : violins and tenors from ^10 to 65 ; violoncellos from 
20 to 150. 

On June I, 1893, he was appointed by Royal Warrant 
violin-maker to H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh. 

Three sons now assist him in the business. These are : 
Edward Sidney Munns, born Aug. 3, 1870 ; Sidney Bernard, 
born Oct. 22, 1873; and Douglas Sidney, born Aug. 10, 

In Nov. 1896 Mr. Withers invented the new sound-post, 
now universally known as "E. Withers' Patent Prepared 
Hollow Sound-Post." 

Mr. Withers is one of those who believe in oil varnish. 
He expresses a strong belief that the varnish affects the quality 
of the tone to an extent not allowed by the majority of 
writers on the subject. Acting on this belief he was led early 
in life to pay a close attention to the varnish question, and to 
conduct a series of experiments with the view of wringing the 
secret out of the great Ghost of Cremona. It is this belief 


also which prompts him now to spend such time over the 
varnishing process. Certain it is that his varnish is exceed- 
ingly good and well laid on. It is rich, "juicy," and withal 
perfectly transparent. 

Mr. Withers plays the violin, tenor and 'cello, and has 
frequent quartet and symphony parties at his private house, 
Elmwood, Atkins Road, Clapham Park. 

His label, it will be observed from the following facsimile, 
is not dated. It is almost identical with that used by his 
father, only having in addition the name of the street and 
number of the house. Facsimile label : 

Edward Withers, 

22,Wardour Street. 


WOOD, G. F., London, contemporary. Very good 
work and tone. 

WOODNEY, H., Manchester : nineteenth century. 

WORDEN, JAMES, Preston, contemporary. He was 
born at Leyland, Aug. 25, 1839, and is the son of George 
and Ann Worden. 

The father was a descendant of the Wordens of old 
Worden Hall, and the mother a descendant of the Plessing- 
tons, of the Dimples, an old Lancashire family. The 
mother's family gave the Roman Catholics their last British 
martyr, to wit the Rev. J. Plessington, who was executed in 
the year 1678. 

Mr. Worden received a liberal elementary education at 
the school of the Christian Brothers, at Preston. 


He was married in the year 1868, to Miss Mary Anne 
Stirzaker, at the church of St. Joseph, Preston. 

He served an apprenticeship at the trade of cabinet- 
making. In the year 1870 he went to Mr. Francis Booth, of 
Wakefield, to learn the trade of organ building, and later to 
the firm of Messrs. Gray & Davidson. He is a practical 
pianoforte -maker and organ builder, as well as violin-maker, 
and his workshop at 83 Friargate Gate, is well known in and 
around Preston. 

He has made up to date fifty violins, one tenor, one 'cello, 
and one guitar. He makes on different models, mostly on 
that of Stradivari, but sometimes on an adopted model of his 
own, based on the lines of Maggini. 

The workmanship is excellent. The wood is well chosen 
for its acoustic properties, and is generally handsome in 
appearance. The sound-holes in the instruments, made on 
original lines, are a hybrid between those of Strad and Joseph. 
The scroll is beautifully carved and exceedingly graceful per se y 
but when viewed as a part of the whole, it impresses the mind 
with a sense of longing after the bold and the massive. It is 
too slender for this giant model. 

The button is not of the usual modern British type, but is 
somewhat smaller and more elongated. 

One of Mr. Worden's instruments has a Panormo back 
cut from a partly worked block, which was discarded by the 
noted Vincenzo owing to a few worm-holes. 

There is ample evidence that it is a block out of the famous 
billiard table. It is magnificent wood, with beautiful cloud- 
like coruscations, and a broad, vivid flame. This fiddle is on 
the Strad lines, well-made and full of character. 

Mr. Worden uses Whitelaw's varnish in the various colours, 
and also Walton's. The tone is beautifully sweet and velvet- 
like. The Panormo back fiddle has a round, clear, and pene- 
trating tone. 

This maker has led a very active musical career. In 1883 
he founded the Preston Harmonic Society, which society 
still exists and is conducted by its founder. In 1884 he was 


appointed conductor of the Preston Orpheonic Male Voice 
Choir, and he led them at the Liverpool Eisteddfod in that 
year; at the Inventions, London, in 1885, where they took 
the second prize ; and at the Liverpool Exhibition in 1886. 

He has also, up to within a recent date, been associated 
with all the work of the Preston Choral Society, and looks 
back with much pleasure to his association with its wholly 
admirable conductor, Signer Luigi Resegari. Facsimile 
label : 

James Warden, 

1O 0O 



The Paschal Lamb, with the motto Princeps Pads, is the 
coat of arms of the Borough of Preston. 

Each instrument as it is finished is dedicated to, and put 
under the protection of, some well-known saint. 

WRIGHT, DANIEL, London : c. 1745. Nothing is 
known of him. 

WRIGHT, EBENEZER, South Shields, contemporary. 
Average ability. 


YATES, RICHARD, Manchester, contemporary. A 
beginner whose work evinces exceptional talent. If circum- 
stances will but allow him to devote his time to the art, he 
will later on turn out work that will place him in the front 
rank of modern luthiers. 

YEATS, HENRY, London, contemporary. A gentle- 
man amateur whose work is said to be excellent. I regret, 


therefore, that I am not acquainted with him, and that I have 
not seen any of his instruments. He resides at 17 Pendennis 
Road, Streatham, S.W., and owns a fine collection of Italian 

YOOLE, WILLIAM, St. Andrews : 1806-68. I have 
never seen any of his work. 

YOUNG, JAMES, Edinburgh, contemporary. 

YOUNG, JOHN, London : c. 1700. No instruments of 
his are known, but we learn from the curious verses of Purcell 
that he was a maker. 

YOUNGMAN, M., Halifax, contemporary. He was 
born at Stanton, Nov. 28, 1860. His work is carefully finished, 
and the tone is large and brilliant. He works mostly on an 
original model, which, although by no means graceful, shows 
some strength and insight. He uses Whitelaw's varnish, 
or sometimes Whitelaw's mixed with Caffyn's. He won the 
silver medal in the amateur class for a case of violins at the 
Yorkshire and West Riding Exhibition, 1893 ; and the gold 
medal at the same Exhibition in 1895. 



Acton, William John, 55 

Adams, Cathune, 57 

Addison, William, 57 

Aireton, Edmund, 57 

Air mass theory of Stradivari 

tone, 41 

Airth, William, 57 
Aldred, 57 

Allen, Edward Heron, 14, 22, 58 
Allen, Samuel, 62 
Anderson, Henry, 62 

, John, 62 

, John, 63 

Anyon, Thomas, 63 

Arnot, David, 64 

Art, absence of stimulus, 4 

Askew, John, 64 

Askey, Samuel, 64 

Aspinall, James, 64 

Atkinson, William, 21, 32, 65 

Baker, Francis, 69 

, John, 69 

Ballantine, 69 

Balzar, Thomas, 6 

Banks, Benjamin, 3, 10, 12, 16, 

19, 69 

Banks, James and Henry, 76 
Barnes, Robert, 77 
Barrett, John, 77 
Barton, George, 77 
Beloe, W. L., 77 
Bertram, Alexander, 78 
, William, 78 

Betts, Edward, 79 

, John, 78 
Beveridge, William, 79 
Blackburn, J. H., 80 
Blair, John, 80 

, William, 80 

Blyth, William, 80 
Bolles, 80 
Bone, Philip J., 81 
Bonn, J. Edwin, 81 
Booth, William, 82 

, William, jun., 82 

Bothwell, William, 83 
Boucher, 83 
Bowler, Arthur, 83 
Breckinbridge, John, 83 
Bridges, 34, 35, 36 
Bridge vagaries, 37, 38 
Briggs, John William, 83 
Briscoe, D., 85 
Brookfield, Edward, 85 
Brown, Alexander, 86 

, Anthony, 86 

, James, 86 

, James, jun., 86 

Browne, John, 86 

Buckman, George Hatton, 86 

Calow, William, 88 
Cannon, James, 89 
Carr, John, 89 
Carroll, James, & Son, 89 
Carter, John, 90 
Cartwright, W. J., 90 
Gary, Alphonse, 90 

2 4 4 


Challoner, Thomas, 90 
Channon, Frederick William, 90 
Christie, James, 92 

, John, 93 

Clark, Dr. Inglis, 30 
Clark, James, 93 
Classical material, the, 10 
Classical model, the, 3 
Classical school, the, 3 
Classical tone, the, 17, 1 8 
Classical varnish, the, 1 1 
Cole, James, 93 

, Thomas, 93 

Collier, Samuel, 93 

, Thomas, 94 

Collingwood, Joseph, 94 
Collins, William Henry, 94 
Colville, David, 95 
Colvin, Gavin, 96 
Conservatism, musical, 6 
Conway, William, 96 
Cooper, Hugh William, 96 
Corbett, William, 8 
Corsby, George, 98 
Craig, John, 98 
Cramond, Charles, 98 
Craske, George, 99 
Cross, Nathaniel, 100 
Crowther, John, 101 
Gumming, Andrew, 101 
Cuthbert, 9, 101 

Davidson, Hay, 102 

, Peter, 102 

, William, 102 

Davis, Richard, 102 

, William, 103 

Day, John, 103 
Dearlove, Mark, 103 

& Fryer, 103 

Delany, John, 103 
Dennis, Jesse, 104 
Detail, importance of, 28 

Devereux, John, 104 
Devoney, Frank, 104 
Dewars, William, 104 
Dickenson, Edward, 105 
Dickeson, John, 105 
Dickie, Matthew, 105 
Dickson, Dr. George, 29, 30 
Dickson, John, 105 
Ditton, 1 06 
Dodd, Edward, 106 
Dodd, the varnish of, 12 

Edward and Thomas, 109 

John, 106 

Thomas, 107 

Dorant, William, 109 
Duff, William, 109 
Duke, Richard, 3, II, 12, 14, 16, 
1 8, 109 

, Richard, jun., 109 

Duncan, 112 

George, 112 

Dykes, George, 113 

EARLY makers who copied Italian 

instruments, 9 
Eglington, 113 
Evans, Richard, 113 
Ewan, David, 114 

FANATICISM, Puritan, 7 
Fenwick, 115 
Ferguson, David, 115 

-, William, 115 

Ferrier, William, 115 
Findlay, James, 115 
Fingland, S., 116 
Firth, G., 116 
Fleming, J., 116 
Ford, Jacob, 116 
Forster, John, 116 

, " Old" William, 117 

, Simon Andrew, 117 

, William, 117 

, William, 122 

, "Young" William, 121 



Frankland, 122 
Fryer, Charles, 122 
Furber, David, 122 

, Henry John, 122 

, James, 123 

, John, 123 

, Matthew, 124 

, Matthew, jun., 124 

Geminiani, Francesco, 9 
Giardini, 10 
Gibbs, James, 124 
Gilbert, J. J., 21, 32 
Gilchrist, James, 128 
Gilkes, Samuel, 129 

, William, 130 

Ginton, R., 130 
Girvan, Thomas, 130 
Glenday, James, 130 
Glenister, William, 130 
Gloag, John, 133 
Goodman, James, 133 
Gorrie, J., 133 
Gough, John, 134 

, Walter, 134 

Goulding, 134 
Gray, John, 134 
Gregson, Robert, 134 

Hambleton, Joseph, 135 
Hamilton, William, 135 

, W. R. T., 136 

Handley, Henry, 136 

Harbour, 136 

Hardie, Alexander, 136 

, Alexander, jun., 137 

, James, 21, 23 

, James (and Son), 137 

, Matthew, 9 

, Peter, 144 

, Thomas, 144 

Hare, John, 144 

Hare, Joseph, 144 

Harkham, 145 

Harmonic proportion, theory of, 50 

Harris, Charles, 145 

, Charles, jun., 146 

Hart, George, 4 

, George, & Son, 146 

, John Thomas, 146 

Harvie, Robert, 150 
Haweis, Rev. H. R., 18 
Hawkes, 150 
Haynes & Co., 150 

, Jacob, 150 

Heaps, Alfred Walter, 150 

, John Knowles, 152 

Heaton, William, 152 
Heesom, Edward, 157 
Henderson, David, 157 
Hesketh, T. E., 21, 157 
Higson, Daniel, 160 
Hill, Henry Lockey, 160 

, Joseph, 161 

, William, 162 

, William Ebsworth, 162 

& Sons, 162 

Hircutf 162 
Holloway, John, 162 
Honeyman, W. C., 1 1, 25 
Hopkins, 162 

Hosborn, Thomas Alfred, 162 
Hudson, George, 162 
Hume, Charles David, 163 
Hume, Richard, 163 

Italian instruments, English col- 
lections of, 8 

Janson, Edward Popplewell, 163 
Jay, Henry, 163 
Jay, Henry, 164 
Jay, Thomas, 164 
Johnson, John, 164 



Jones, , 164 

Jones, John, 164 

Kendal, George, 165 
Kennedy, Alexander, 165 
Kennedy, John, 165 
Kennedy, Thomas, 165 

Lewis, Edward, 166 
Light, Edward, 166 

Lindsay, , 166 

Lindsay, David, 166 
Lindsay, Michael H., 167 
Lister, John, 167 
Logan, John, 167 
Lomax, Jacob, 168 
Longman & Broderip, 168 

MACE, Musick's monument, 3, 6 
M 'George, George, 168 
Maghie, John Fisher, 168 
M'Gill, James Campbell, 169 
M'Intosh, James, 169 
Macintosh, John, 169 
M'Intosh, William, 170 
M'Kenzie, Malcolm, 170 
M'Lay, William, 171 
M'Neill, John, 171 
M'Neill, William, 171 
M'Nicoll, Alexander, 171 
McSwan, John, 171 
Mallas, Alexander, 171 
Mann, John Alexander, 171 
Mamie, John, 172 
Marshal], John (London), 172 
Martin, 172 
Matteis, Nicola, 6 
Mayson, Walter H., 22, 32, 172 
Meares, Richard, 8, 177 
Meares, Richard, jun., 177 
Meek, William, 177 
Meikle, Robert, 177 

Mentiply, Andrew Adam, 177 

Menzies, John, 178 

Merlin, Joseph, 178 

Mier, 178 
I Miller, 178 

Miller, Alexander, 178 
i Miller, John, 178 

Milne, Patrick G., 179 

Miner, D. Brown, 179 

Mitchell, George, 179 
| Mitchell, John, 179 

Modern tone, the, 32 
| Modern varnish, the, 28 
j Moffatt, W. G., 179 

Monk, John King, 179 

Monzi, the banker, 10 

Moore, Anthony John, 180 

Morgan, James, 181 

Morrison, Archibald, 182 

Morrison, James, 183 

Morrison, John, 183 

Murdoch, Alexander, 183 

Murray, Daniel, 183 

Murray, David, 183 

Murray, James, 184 

Murray, John Brown, 184 

Newton, Isaac, 184 
Nicol, Thomas, 184 
Nisbet, William, 184 
Noble, Hugh, 186 
Norborn, John, 186 
Norman, Barak, 9, 186 
Norris, John, 186 


Outline, arching, and thickness 

theory, 49 
Owen, John William, 21, 32, 189 

Parker, Daniel, 3, 15, 16, 19, 193 
Paterson, James, 195 



Patrick, William, 195 
Payne, R., 195 
Pearce, George, 195 
Pearce, James & Thomas, 195 
Pearce, William, 195 
Pemberton, Edward, 196 
Perry & Wilkinson, 196 
Pickard, Handel, 196 
Pine, 196 

Plane, Walter, 196 
Plate tension theory, 46 
Powell, Royal & Thomas, 196 
Preston, 196 
Preston, John, 196 
Priestley, A. W., 197 
Priestnall, John, 197 
Pugnani, Gaetano, 10 

QUALITY of wood theory, 46 

RAE, JOHN, 199 

Raeburn, Alexander, 202 

Raeburn, George, 202 

Raeburn, John, 202 

Ramsay, William, 203 

Rawlins, 203 

Reed, B., 203 

Relative density of wood theory, 44 

Relative pitch of plates theory, 42 

Revival of violin-making, 21 

Richards, Edwin, 203 

Riechers on age of wood, 24 

Riley, Henry, 203 

Ritchie, Archibald, 203 

Rook, Joseph, 203 

Ross, Donald, 203 

Ross, John, 204 

Ruddiman, Joseph, 204 

SALABUE Strad, the, 15 
Saunders, S., 204 
Shaw, John, 205 
Shaw, J., 205 
Shaw, Thomas, 205 

Shepherd, H. G., 205 

Shepley, George, 205 

Sherdon, Daniel, 205 

Shrinkage of wood, 25 

Shrinkage table, 26 

Shrosbree, Henry James, 205 

Simpson, James, & Son, 207 

Simpson, Thomas, 208 

Sinclair, William, 208 

Skeffington,William Kirkland, 208 

Smillie, Alexander, 208 

Smith, A. E., 211 

Smith, Alexander Howland, 211 

Smith, Henry, 211 

Smith, John, 211 

Smith, John Hey, 213 

Smith, Nathaniel, 213 

Smith, Pye, 213 

Smith, Thomas, 213 

Smith, W. F., 213 

Smith, William, 213 

Smith, William (Leeds), 213 

Spicer, John, 213 

Spicer, William, 213 

Spiers, Stewart, 213 

Stanley, Robert A., 213 

Stirrat, David, 214 

Stradivari's tone, theories about, 39 

Streets, James, 214 

Strong, John, 214 

Strong, Matthew, 214 

Sturge, H., 214 


Taylor, B., 218 

Tennant, James, 218 

Thomas, Watkin, 218 

Thompson, Charles & Samuel, 218 

Thome, W. H., 218 

Thornley, 218 

Tiffin, Miller, 218 

Tilley, Thomas, 218 

Tobin, Richard, 17,218 

Tone, loud, 19 

2 4 8 


Torring, L., 220 
Trimnell, Joseph Henry, 220 
Tubbs, James, & Son, 220 
Turner, William, 220 
Tuson, Robert, 220 
Tweedy, J., 220 

Urquhart, Donald, 221 
Urquhart, Thomas, 222 

VARNISH, a lost art, why? 13 
Vaughan, David Robert, 222 
Veracini, 9 
Vickers, Richard, 223 
Virtuosi in England, 9 
Voyle, Benjamin, 223 

Wade, William, 223 
Walker, H. J., 223 
Walker, Hector M., 223 
Walton, William, 223 
Wamsley, Peter, 9, 225 
Ward, 225 

Wardlaw, Richard, 225 
Warrick, A., 225 
Warwick, Reginald, 226 
Watson, Frank, 226 
Watson, Rev. John, 227 

Watt, Alexander Stocks, 227 

Weaver, Samuel, 227 

Whitelaw, James, 12, 29, 31, 


Whiteside, Henry, 11, 36, 229 
Whitmarsh, Emmanuel, 232 
Whittaker, Button &, 232 
Wigan, David, 232 
Wightman, George, 232 
Wilks, Alfred, 232 
Williams, Alfred, 233 
Williams, Benjamin, 233 
Williams, O. R., 235 
Wilson, James L., 235 
Wilton, James, 236 
Wise, Christopher, 9, 236 
Withers, Edward, 236 
Withers, Edward, jun., 237 
Wood, G. F., 239 
Woodney, H., 239 
Worden, James, 239 
Wright, Daniel, 241 
Wright, Ebenezer, 241 

Yeats, Henry, 241 
Yoole, William, 242 
Young, James, 242 
Young, John, 242 
Youngman, M., 242 


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Edinburgh 6* London 









Sonksiore, Lond 

Telephone Xo. 
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The Cost of Her Pride. 


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| Babylon. The Great T 


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The Scallywag. 
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The Beckoning 
The DevU's Die. 
This Mortal Coil. 
The Tents of Shem. 

Phra the Phoenician. | Constable of St. Nicholas 



THE PICCADILLY (3/6) NOVELS continued. 

Red Spider. I Eve. 


In a Steamer Chair I A Woman Intervenes. 

From Whose Bourne. I Revenge 1 

A Prince of Good Fellows. 
A Prodigal's Progress. I The Harding Scanda 
Woman of Iron Bracelets. Under a Strange Mask. 
Fettered for Life. A Missing Witness. 

Between Life and Death. | Was She Justified? 
By BELLE.'-Vashtl and Esther. 

The Gates of Wrath. | The Grand Babylon Hotel. 

Anna of the Five Towns. 
By Sir W. BE3ANT and J. RICE. 
By Celia's Arbour. 
Chaplain cf the Fleet. 
The Seamy Side. 
The Case of Mr. Lucraft. 

With Harp and Crown. 
This Son of Vulcan. 
The Golden Butterfly. 
The Monks of Thelema. 


Verbena Camellia Stepha. 
The Ivory Gate. [nods. 
The Rebel Queen 
Dreams of Avarice. 
In Deacon's Orders. 
The Master Craftsmaa 

The Charm. 

The Alabaster Box. 

The Orange Girl. 

All Sorts and Conditions. 
The Captains' Room. 
All in a Garden Fair. 
Dorothy Forster. 
Uncle Jack. | Holy Rose. 
World Went Well Then. 
Children of Gibeon. 

For Faith and Freedom. 

To Call Her Mine. 

The Revolt of Man. 

The Belt of St. Paul's. 

Armorel of Lyonesse. 

S. Katherine's by Tower. The Lady~of Lynn. 

No Other Way. 
By AMBROSE BIERCB.-In Midst of Life. 

Ainslie's Ju-ju. | A Sower of Wheat. 

Dora Myrl. I Shillelagh and Shamrock. 

Fatsey the Omadaun. 

By PAUL BOURGET.-A Living Lie. 

By J. D. BRAYSHAW.-Slum Silhouettes. 

By H. A. BR YDEN.-An Exiled Scot. 

The New Abelard. 
Matt. | Rachel Dene. 
Master of the Mine. 
The Heir of Linne. 
Woman and the Man. 
Red and White Heather. 
Lady Kilpatrfck. 

A Child of Nature. 
God and the Man. 
Martyrdom of Madeline. 
Love Me for Ever. 
Annan Water. 
Foxglove Manor. 
The Charlatan 

The Picaroons. 

Shadow of a Crime. | Son of Hagar. | Deemster. 
By R. W, CH AMBERS.-The King in Yellow, 

By AUSTIN CLARB.-By Rise of River. 

Paul FerrolL | Why Paul Ferroll Killed his Wile, 

The Red Sultan. | The Burden of Isabel 

The Cruise of the " Black Prince." 


I After Dark. The Ne " ' 

-"-- TheTwoDesti 
I Say No.' 
Little Novel*. 

Queen of Hearts. 
Sly Miscellanies. 
The Woman in White. 
The Law and the Lady. 
The Haunted Hotel 

The Fallen Leaves. 
Jezebel's Daughter. 
The Black Robe. 
Heart and Science. 
The Evil Genius. 
The Legacy of Cain 
A Rogue's Life. 
Blind Love. 


Blacksmith afd Scholar. I You Play Me False. 
The Village Comedy. I Midnight to Midnight 
By m. J. COLQUHOUN.-Every Inch a Soldier. 

The Inimitable Mrs. Massingham. 

By E. H. COOPER. -Geoffory Hamilton. 
By Y. C. COTE8.-TWO Girls on a Barge. 

The Prophet of the Great Smoky Mountains. 
His Vanished Star. 

The Adventures of a Fair Rebel. 

Diana Barrington. 
Proper Pride. 
A Family Likeness. 
Pretty Miss Neville. 
A Bird of Passage. 
Mr. Jervis. 
Village Tales. 
Some One Else. I Ta 


i Ma 

In the Kingdom of Kerry. 
A Third Person. 
Beyond the Pale. 
Miss Balmaine's Past. 
Terence. | The Cat's-paw 
The Evangelist ; or. Port Salvation. 
By H. C. DAYIDSON.-Mr. Sadler's Daughters. 

The Poet and the Pierrot. 
The Princess and the Kitchen-maid, 

A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder. 

True Tales of Travel and 

Man rom Manchester. I Tales of Te 
Records of Vincent Trill. Chro.of Michael Danevitch 
Myst. of Jamaica Terrace. Tyler Tatlock, Detective. 
Deacon Brodie. | A Detective's Triumphs. 

RICHARD DOWLINO.-OM Corcoran's Money. 
CONAN DOYLE.-The Firm of Girdlestone. 

A Daughter of To-day I Vernon's Aunt. 
Archie Lovell. | A Piaster Saint. 

By C. B. EDWARDS.-Snazelleparilla. 

Cursed by a Fortune. j A Fluttered Dovecote. 
The Case of Ailsa Gray. King of the Castle. 
Commodore Junk. 
The New Mistress. 
Witness to the Deed. 
The Tiger Lily. 
The White Virgin. 
Black Blood. 
Double Cunning. 
The Bag of Diamonds 

Master of the Ceremonies. 
The Man with a Shadow. 
One Maid's Mischief. 
Story of Antony Grace. 
This Man's WSe. 
In Jeopardy. 
Woman Worth Winning. 
i A Crimson Crime, 
g Amok. 

By Hon. Mrs. W. FORBES.-Dumb. 

One by One. | A Real Queen. I A Dog and his Shadow. 
Ropes of Sand. | Jack Doyle's Daughter 


Robin Gray. I The Braes of Yarrow. 

Of High Degree, Queen of the Meadow. 

The Golden Shaft. The Flower of the Forest 

The Lost Heiress. I The Golden Rock. 

Fair Colonist. I Fossicker. I Tales from the Veld. 

The Fate " ' 



THE PICCADILLY (3/6) NOVELS continued. 

By GYP.-Cloclo. 
The Track of a Storm | Jetsam. 

Glamour of the Impossible ; and Through a Keyhole. 

Under the Greenwood Tree. 





| Sally Dows. 

Barker's Luck. 

Three Partners. 

of lac 




Garth. I Dust. I Beatrix Randolph. 

Ellice Quentin. David Poindexter's Dis- 

Sebastian Strorae. I appearance. 

Fortune's Fool. | Spectre of Camera. 

Love or a Name. 

By CHRIS HEALY.-The Endless Heritage. 
By Sir A. HELPS. Ivan de Biron. 
By I. HENDERSON. -Agatha Page. 

By G. A. HENTY. 

Dorothy's Double. | The (Jueen's Cup. 

Rujub, the Juggler. | Colonel Thorndyke's Secret 
By HE ADON HILL.-Zambra the Detective. 
By JOHN HILL. The Common Ancestor. 


Twixt Love and Duty. I Incomplete Adventurer. 
Nugents of Carriconna. | Nell Haffenden. 

I he Shadow of the Rope. 
By YICTOR HUGO.-The Outlaw of Iceland. 


Lady from Nowhere. | The Millionaire Mystery. 

I Professor's Experiment. 
A Point of Consc-ence. 
A Maiden all Forlorn 
The Coming of Chloe. 
Nora Creina. 

An Anxious Moment. 
April's Lady. 
Peter's Wife. 


Unsatisfactory Lover. 
In Durance Vile. 
A Modern Circe. 
Lady Patty. 
A Mental Struggle. 
Lady Vemer's Flight. 
The Red-House Mystery. 

rhre By ra Mrk. ALFRED HUNT. 

The Leaden Casket. I Self-Condemned. 

That Other Person. | Mrs. Juliet. 

By R. ASHB KING.-A Drawn Game. 
By GEORGE LAfflEERT.-President of Boravia 

Madame Sans-Gone. 
By ADAM LILBURN.-A Tragedy in Ma 

Rhoda Roberts. I The Jacobite. 

Patricia Kemball. 
Under which Lord ? 
My Love I ' \ Icm 
Paston Carew. 
Sowing the Wind 
With a Silken Thread. 

j Atonement Learn Dundas 
The One Too Many. 
Dulcie Everton. 
Tne Rebel of the Fami'y 
An Octave of Friends. 

I The World Well Lost. 
By HENRY W. LUCY.-Gideon Fleyce. 


Donna Quixote. 

Maid ofAthens. 

The Comet of a Season. 

The Dictator. 

Red Diamonds. 

The Riddle Ring. 

The Three Disgra 

A Fair Sa 
Linley Rochford. 
Dear Lady Disdain. 
Cainioja. | Moiionia. 
Waterdale Neighbours. 
My Enemy's Daughter. 
Miss Misanthrope. 

JUSTIN H. McCARTHY.-A London Legend. 

Heather and Snow. 
By W. H. MALLOCK.-TheNew Republic. 

A Soldier cf Fort 

Dr. a Rumsey'"pa;ient. 

The Voice of the Chan 


By L. T. MEADE. 

On Brink of a Chasm, 
The Siren. 

The Way of a Woman. 
A son of Ishmael. 
The Blue Diamond. 


When a Girl's Engaged. 

This Stage of Fools. | Cynthia. 

The Man who Good 
The Lone Star Rush. | Only a Nigger. 

The Gun-Runner. I The King's Assegai. 

Luck of Gerard Ridgeley. | Renshaw Fanning's Quest. 
The Triumph of Hilary Blachland. | Haviland's Chum. 
Mrs. MOLESWORTH.-Hathercourt Rectory. 

Maid Matian and Robin I Basile the Jester. 
Hood. I Golden Idol. 

Young Lochinvar. 

A Life's Atonement. | Bob Martin's Little Girl. 
d Cr 



In Direst Peril. 

Mount Descair. 
A Captul o' Nails. 
Tales in Prose *nd Verse. 
A Race for Millions. 
This Little World. 
His Own Ghost. 
Church of Humanity. 
Despair's Last Journey. 

of Fire. 

Old Blazer's Hero. 
Val Strange. 1 Hearts. 
A Model Father. 
By the Gate of the Sea. 
A Bit of Human Nature. 
First Person Singular. 
Cynic Fortune. 
The Way of the World. 

The Bishops' Bible. | Paul Jones's Alias. 

One Traveller Returns. 
By HUME NISBET.-'Bail Upl' 

Saint Ann', ** W " "', SMfw. 

Miss Wentworth's Idea. 

By G. OHNBT.-A Weird Gift. 

Love's Depths. | The Woman of Mystery 

The Money-maker. 
Whiteladies. | The Sorceress. 


Held in Bondage. 
Strathmore. | Chandos. 
Under Two Flags. 
Cecil Castlemaine's Gage. 
Tricotrin. | Puck. 
A Dog of Flanders. 
Pascarel. | Signa. 
Princess Napraxine. 
Two Wooden Shoes. 
In a Winter City. 
The Massarenes. 

Friendship. I Idalia. 
Moths. Ruffino. 

Pipiswello. Ariadne. 
A Village Commune. 
Bimbl. I Wanda. 

Frescoes. | Othmar. 
In Maremma. 
Syrlin. | Guilderoy. 

Santa Barbara. 
Two Offenders. 
The Waters of Edera. 
A Rainy June. 


nd Simple. 


Lost Sir Massingberd 
The ClyfrardsofClyffe. 
The Family Scapegrace. 
ACounty Family. [Painted 
Less Black than We're 

Confidential Agent. 
\ Grape from a Thorn. 


High Spirits. | Bv Proxy. 
The Talk of the Town. 

A Trying Patient. 
Modern Dick Whittington 

Holiday Tasks. 
For Cash Only. 
The Burnt Million. 
The Word and the Will. 
Sunny Stories. and Privation. 
Mystery of Mirbridge. 

By WILL PAYNE.-Jerry the Dreamer 

Outlaw and Lawmaker. I Mrs. Tregaskiss. 

la Chard. I Nulma. I Madame la 

As a Watch in the Night.' 
By E. C. PRICB.-Valentina. 

Vliss Maxwell's Affections. 

By Mrs. J. H. RIDDBLI 
Weird Stories. I A Rich Ma-'- 



THE PICCADILLY (3/6) NOVELS continued. 

Peg Woffington ; and I Griffith Gaunt, 
i tiristis Johnstone. J.ove Little, Love Long 

Never Too Late to Mend. 
The Course of True 

Love ; and Singleheart 

and Doubleface. 
Autobiography of 

igraphy of a 
; Jack of all 
Trades; A Hero and 


Put Yourself in His Place. 
A Terrible Temptation. 

The Jilt, & other Stories . 
& Good Stories of Man. 
A Perilous Secret. 

Readiana ; and Bible 

Man Who Lost His Past. | The Bayswater Mystery. 

Barbara Dering. | Meriel. 

The Hands of Justice. | Woman in the Dark. 

By ALBERT RO8S.-A Sugar Princess. 
By J. RUNCIMAN.-Skippers and Shellbacks. 

Round the Galley Fire. I My Shipmate Louise. 

Alone on Wide Wide Sea. 
The Phantom Death. 
Is He the Man? 

Good Ship ' Mohock. 

Mystery of ' Ocean Star.' The Convict Ship. 
Jenny Harlowe. Heart of Oak. 

An Ocean Tragedy. The Tale of the Ten. 

A Tale of Two Tunnels. (he Lait Entry. 

The Death Ship. 

By DORA RUSSELL.-DriftofFate. 


By BAYLE ST. JOHN.-A Levantine Family. 


Dr. Ei'dicott's Experiment | Under False Pretences. 


Children of To-morrow. 

By M. P. SHIBL.-The Purple Cloud. 


In the Middle Wa 
On the FoVsle Head. 
A Voyage to the Cape. 

By R. L. STEYENSON.-The Suicide Club. 


The Young Master of Hyson Hall. 

By SUNDOWNER.-Told by the Taffrail 

On a Mexican Mustang. 

By ANNIE THOMAS.-The Siren's Web. 

In a Cathedral City. 
Like Ships Upon Sea. | Anne Furne.s. 

Mabel's Progress. 
The Way we Live Now. I Marion Fay. 
Frau Frohmann. Scarborough's Family 

The Land- Leaguers. 

Choice Works. Pudd'nhead Wilson. 

Library of Humour. i The Gilded Age. 

The Innocents Abroad. Prince and the Pauper. 
Roughing It; and The Life on the Mississippi. 

Innocents at Home. I Huckleberry Finn. 
A Tramp Abroad. A Yank 

The American Claimant: 

Adventures Tom bawyer. 


e Through. Mrs. Ca 

Stolen White Elephant. 
.1.000,000 Bank-note. 

tive Story. 
C. C. FBASEH-TYTLER.-Mistress JuJith. 

ifhael's Go 

The Blackball Ghosts. Rachel Langlon. 

The Macdonald Lass. I A Honeymoon's Eclipse 
Witch Wife. | Sapphira. I A Young Dragon. 
ALLEN UPWARD.-The Queen against Owen. 
By ALBERT D. YANDAM.-A Court Tragedy 

The Scorpion. | The Lover's Progress. 

By LEW. WALL ACE.- Ben Hur. 

Joan, the Curate. | A Fight to a Finish. 

By CY WARMAN.-Pxpress Messenger. 
By A. WERNER.-Chapenga's White Man. 

Dagonet Abroad. 
Once uponChristmasTime 
Without the Limelight 
Rogues and Vagabonds. 
Biographs ol Babylon. 
By T. W. 
The Grey Mo. k. 
The Master of Trenance. 
The Web of Fate. 
Secret of Wyvern Towers. 
The Do 
By ALAN 1 
A Fellow of Trinity. 
The Junior Dean. 
Master of St. Benedict's 
To his Own Master. 
Gallantay Bower. 
In Fate of the World. 
Orchard Damerel. 
Mrs. Dunl 

In London's Heart. 
Mary Jane's Memoirs. 
Mary Jane Married. 
Tho Small-part Lady. 
A Blind Marriage. 
LAIR.-Piince Hagen. 
I. The Prince of Argolis. 
As it was Written. 
Her Ladyship. 
The Strange Experiences 
m of Siva. 
The Tremlett Diamonds. 
The Wooing of May. 
A Tragic Honeymoon. 
A Proctor s Wooing. 
Fortune's Gate. 

jTupr Lauder - 

FORD.- Doris and I. 
.-The Cruciform Mark. 
HENB.-Philip Winwood. 
ILE.-The Afghan Knife 


For Honour and Li'e 
A Woman Tempted Him. 
Her Two Millions. 
Two Pinches of Snuff. 
Nigel Fortescue. 
Birch Dane. | Ben dough. 

A Queer Race. 
The Old Factory. 
As Luck w 
The Shadow of r 
By FRED 1ft 




Red Ryvington. 
Ralph Norbreck's Trust 

Roy of Roy's Court. 
With the Red Eagle. 
A Red Bridal. 
Strange Crimes. 
Her Ladyship's Secret, 
uld have it. 
ilton Fernbrook. 
Many Ways of Love 
An Easy-going Fellow 

iNG n wi I LL: i ' ds - 


The Honour of tiie Army. 
Germinal. 1 The Dream. 
Abbe Mouret's Trans- 
gression. | Money. 
The Congest of Plassans. 
Dram-Shop. | Downfall. 
His Excellency. 


His Masterpiece. 
The hat and the Thin. 
Dr. Pascal | Joy of Life 
Fortune of the Rougons. 
Lourdes. Fruitrutness. 

Paris. Truth'. 


Post 8v<. illustrated boards, 2s. each 

Blind Fate. I A Life Interest, 

Valerie's Fate. Mono's Choice. 

By Woman's Wit 


Phra the Phoenician. 


In all Shades. 
The Beckoning Hand. 
The Devil's Die. 
The Tents of Shem. 
The Great Taboo. 


I Babylon. I Dumaresq's Daughter. 
1 Duchess of Powsyland. 
Blood Royal 
IvanGreet's Masterpiece. 

This Mortal CoiL 
At Market Value. 
, Under Sealed Orders. 



By M. J. COLQUHOUN.-Every Inch a Soldier. 


Red Spider. | Eve. 


The Prophet of the Great Smoky Mountains. 


By H. N. CRELLIN.-Tales of the Caliph. 

Fettered for Life. 
Little Lady Linton. 

A Prodigal s Progress. 
Found Guilty. 

MATT CRIM.-The Adventures of a Fair Rebe. 

Between Life and Death. 
Folly Morrison. 

A Recoiling Vengeance 
For Love and Honour. 
John Ford, &c. 

Pretty Miss NevUie. ' 
Diana Barrington. 


Village Tales and Jungle 
Tragedies. | Mr.Jervis. 

Lieut. Barnabas. 

Woman of Iron Bracelets. 

A Bird of Passage. 

Two Masters. 

Honest Davie. 

The Harding Scandal. 

Proper Pride. | To Let' 

The Real Lady Hilda. 

A Missing Witness. 

A Family Likeness. 

Married or Single? 

By Sir W. BBS A 

Ready-Money Mortiboy. 
My Little Girl. 
With Harp and Crown. 
This Son of Vulcan. 

NT and J. RICE. 

By Celia's Arbour. 
Chaplain of the Fleet. 
The Seamy Side. 
The Case of Mr. Lucralt. 

A Third Person. Interference. 

The Evangelist ; or, Port Salvation. 

By JAMES DE MILLE.-A Strange Manuscript 

The Golden Butterfly. 
The Monks of Thelema. 

In Trafalgar's Bay. 
The Ten Years' Tenant. 


The Man-Hunter. Michael Danevitch. 

By Sir WAL1 
All Sorts and Conditions. 


The Bell of St. Paul's. 

Tracked and Taken. 
Caught at Last ! 

In the Grip of the Law. 
From Information Re- 

The Captains' Room. 
All in a Garden Fair. 
Dorothy Forster. 
Uncle jack. [Then. 
The World Went Very We 
Children of Gibeon. 
Herr Paulus. 

The Holy Rose. 
Armorel of Lyonesse. 
St. Katherines by Tower. 
Verbena Camellia Stepha- 
The Ivory Gate, [notis. 
The Rebel Queen. 
Beyond Dreams Avarice. 

Who Poisoned Hetty 
Duncan? | Wanted! 
Man from Manchester. 
A Detective's Triumphs. 
Mystery Jamaica Terrace. 
By Mrs. AN MI] 
A Point of Honour. 

Tracked to Doom. 
Link by Link. 
Suspicion Aroused. 
Riddles Read. 
Archie Lovell. 

For Faith and Freedom. 

The Revolt of Man. 


The Master Craftsman. 

The City of Reluge. 


The New Mistress I The Tiger Lily 

AMBROSE BIERCE.-In the Midst of Life. 

Witness to the Deed. | The White Virgin. 


Camp Notes. Chronicles of No-man's 

Bella Donna. | Fatal Zero. Seventy - five ' Brooke 

Savage Life. 


Never Forgotten. | Polly. 



Second Mrs. Tillotson. 

The Lady of Brantome. 

Californian Stories. 1 Flip. I Maruja. 
Gabriel Conroy. A Phyllis of the Sierras. 

By PERCY FITZGERALD and others. 

Strange Secrets. 

Luck of Roaring Camp. A Waif of the Plains. 
An Heiress of Red Dog. \ Ward of Golden Gate. 


Olympia. Kim? or Knave 1 


Shadow of the Sword. The Martyrdom of Ma- 

One by One. 
A Real Queen. 

Romances of the Law. 
Ropes of Sand. 

A Child of Nature. 


Queen Cophetua. 

A Doe and his Shadow. 

God and the Man. 
Love Me for Ever. 
Foxglove Manor. 
The Master of the Mine. 

The New Abelard. 
The Heir of Linne. 
Woman and the Man. 
Rachel Dene. 1 Matt. 


Seth's Brother's Wife. | The Lawton Girl 
Prefaced by Sir BARTLE FRBRE. 

Annan Water. ; Lady Kilpatrick." 

Pandurang Hari. 

BUCHANAN and MURR A Y.-The Charlatan. 

Robin Gray 3 ' ^^^^^^fn^mcai^Etound. 


A Son of Hagar. The Deemster 

Fancy Free. 
For Lack of Gold. 

Flower of the Forest. 
The Braes of Yarrow. 

The Shadow of a Crime. 

What will the World Say J 

The Golden Shaft. 

By Commander CAMERON. 

The Cruise of the 'Black Prince.' 

In Love and War. 
For the King. 

Of High Degree. 
By Mead and Stream. 


The Adventures of Jones. 

In Pastures Green. 
Queen of the Meadow. 
A Heart's Problem. 

Loving a Dream. 
A Hard Knot. 
Heart's Delight. 

By AUSTIN CLARE.-For the Love of a Lass. 

The Dead Heart. 



Paul FerrolL | Why Paul Ferroll Killed his Wife. 

The Cure of Souls. | The Red Sultan. 


The Lost Heiress. | The Fossicker. 
A Fair Colonist, 

By C. ALLSTON COLLINS.- The Bar Sinister. 

ANDREW HALLIDAY. Every-day Papers. 


Sweet Anne Page. Sweet and Twenty. 


From Midnight to Mid- 

A Fight with Fortune. 

The Village Comedy. 
You Play Me False 
Blacksmith and Scholar. 


Ellice Quentin. | Garth. 
Fortune's Fool. 


Love or a Name 
David Poindexters Dis- 


Armadale. | After Dark. , The Woman in White. 

Miss Cadogna. | Dust. 
Beatrix Randolph. 

appearance. [Camera. 
The Spectre of the 

No Name. | Antonina. The Moonstone. 

By Sir ARTHUR HELPS.-Ivan de Biron. 

Basil. | Hide and Seek. 
The Dead Secret. 
Oueen of Hearts 

Man and Wile 
Poor Miss Finch. 

By G. A. HENTY.-Rujub the Juggler. 
By HBADON HILL. -Zambra the Detective. 

Miss or Mrs. ? 

Jezebel's Daughter.' 

By JOHN HILL. Treason-Felony. 

The New Magdalen, 
The Frozen Deep. 
The I -aw and the Lady. 

The Black Role. 
Heart and Science. 
' I Say No !' 

By Mrs. HU 

A Maiden all Forlorn. 
n Durance Vile. 


Lady Verner's Flight. 
The Red-House Mystery. 

The Two Destinies. 
The Haunted Hotel 
A Rogue's Life. 
My Miscellanies. 

The Evil Genius. 
Little Novels. 

ilarvel. | Peter's Wife. 
A Mental Struggle. 
A Modern Circe. 
April's Lady. 

The Three Graces. 
Unsatisfactory Lover. 
Lady Patty. 1 NoraCrelna 
Professor's Experiment. 



By Mrs. CASHEL HOE Y.-The Lover's Creed. 

Gentle and Simple. 

Mrs. GEORGE HOOPER.-The House of Raby. 



That Other Person. The Leaden Casket 
Self-Corn emned. 

Bentinck's Tutor. 
Murphy's Master. 
A County Family. 

A Perfect Treasure. 
What He Cost Her. 
A Confidential Agent. 

Colonial Facts and Fictions. 

A Drawn Game. [Green.' 1 Passion's Slave. 
The Wearing of the | Bell Barry. 

At Her Mercy. 1 Kit. 
Cecil's Tryst. | Halves. 
The Foster Brothers. 
Found Dead. 
The Best of Husbands. 

Glow-worm Tales. 
The Burnt Million. 
Sunny Stories. 
Lost Sir Massingberd. 
A Woman's Vengeance. 
The Family Scapegrace. 


Walter's Word. 

Gwendoline's Harvest. 

Madame Sans-Gt-ne. 

Fallen Fortunes. 

Like Father, Like Son. 

By E. LYN 

Patricia Kemball. 
The World Well Lost. 
Under which LordJ 
Paston Carew. 
1 My Love 1 ' 1 lone. 
With a Silken Thread. 

rS.-The Lindsays. 

The Atonement of Learn 
Rebel of the Family. 
Sowing the Wind. 
The One Too Many. 
Dulcie Everton. 

Humorous Stones. 
soo Reward. 
A Marine Residence. 
Mirk Abbey. | High Spirits 
Under One Roof. 


The Canon's Ward. 

Married Beneath Him. 
Not Wooed, but Won. 
Less Black than We're 
Painted. | By Proxy. 
Some Private Views. 
A Grape from a Thorn. 
The Mystery of Mir- 
bridge. | From Exile. 
The Word and the Will. 

By HENRY W. LUCY.-Gideon Fleyce. 

Holiday Tasks. 

A Prince of the Blood. 


A Trying Patient. 

Dear Lady Disdain. 
Waterdale Neighbours. 
My Enemy's Daughter. 
A Fair Saxon | Camiola. 

Donna Quixote. 
Maid of Athens. 
The Comet of a Season. 
The Dictator. 

By Mrs. CAMP 

The Romance of a Station 
Outlaw and Lawmaker. 


Christina Chard. 
Mrs. Treiraskiss 

Linley Rochf'ord. 

Red Diamonds. 

The Soul of Countess Adrian. 

Miss Misanthrope. 

The Riddle Ring. 


Mr. Stranger's Sealed Packet 

Miss Maxwell s Affections. 

GEORGE MACDON ALD.-Heather and Snow. 
By AGNES MACDONELL.-Quaker Cousins. 


It Is Never Too Late to 
Mend. | The Jilt. 


Foul Play. [ Hard Cash. 
The Wandering Heir. 

By W. H. MALLOCK.-The New Republic. 

Christie Johnstone. 

Singleheart, Doubleface. 

A Secret of the Sea. 
By L. T. ME ADE.-A Soldier of Fortune. 
The Man who was Good. 

The Double Marriage. 
Put Yourself in His Place. 
Love Little. Love Long. 
Cloister and the Hearth. 
Course of True Love. 
Autobiography of a ThieC 
A Terrible Temptation. 

Good Stories of Man, &c. 
Peg Woffington. 
Griffith Gaunt 
A Perilous Secret. 
A Simpleton. 
A Woman- Hater. 

Hathercourt Rectory. 


By Mrs. J H. RIDDELL. 

Dead Man's "'ret FronTBosom of the Deep. 
Stories Weird and Wonderful. 
A Model Father. A Bit of Human Nature. 

Weird Stories. 
Fairy Water. 
Her Mother's Darling. 
The Prince of Wales s 

The Uninhabited House. 
The Mystery in Palace 
Idle Tales. 

Joseph's Coat. 
Coals of Fire. 
Val Strange. I Hearts. 
Old Blazer's Hero. 

First Person Singular. 
Bob Martin's Little GirL 
Time's Revenges. 
A Wasted Crime, 


Women are Strange. | The Woman in the Dark. 
The Hands of Justice. 

The Way of the World. 

In Direst Peril. 

Cynic Fortune. 
A Life's Atonement. 
By the Gat 

Mount Despair. 
A Capful o f Nails, 
s of the Sea. 
and HERMAN. 


Round the Galley Fire. 
On the Fo'k'sle Head. 
In the Middle Watch 


My Shipmate Louise. 
Alone on Wide Wide Sea. 
Good Ship ' Mohock.' 

One Traveller Returns. | The Bishops' Bible. 
Paul Jones's Alias. 

A Voyage to tli- Cape. 
Book for the Hammock. 

The Phantom Death. 
Is He the Man T 

The Mystery of the 

Heart of Oak. 

Bail Up 1' y Dr. Bernard' St. Vincent 

Saint Ann's. | Billy Bellew. 

'Ocean Star.' 
Romance Jenny Harlowe. 
An Ocean Tragedy. 

The Convict Ship. 
The Tale of the Ten. 
The Last Entry. 


Dr. Rameau. | A Weird Gift 


Gaslight and Daylight. 

A Last Love. 



Fhe Ring o' Bells. 

Zeph. | My Two Wives. 


The Greatest Heiress in 

Mary lane's Memoirs. 

Memoirs of a Landlady. 

The Primrose Path. 


Mary Jane Married. 

Scenes from the Show 

Tales of To-day. 

Ten Commandments. 


Held in Bondage. Two Little Wooden Shoes 

Dramas of Lile. 
Tinkletop's Crime. 

Dagonet Abroad. 
Rogues and Vagabonds. 

Strathmore. 1 Chandos. 
Idalia. 1 Tricotrin. 
Under Two Flags. 
Cecil Castlemnine's Gage. 
Puck. | PascareL 
A Dog of Flanders. 
Signa. | Ariadne. 
Princess Napraxine. 
In a Winter City. 

Moths. | Bimbi. 
A Village Commune. 
Wanda. 1 Othmar. 
Frescoes. | Guilderoy. 

Ruflino. | Syrlin. 
Santa Barbara. 
Two Offenders. 
Ouida's Wisdom. Wit 
and Pathos 


By T. W. 

The Mysteries of Heron 

By Devious Ways. 

BY. A Match in the Dark. 
LE.-The Afghan Knife. 


Back to Life. 
The Loudwater Tragedy 
Burgo's Romance. 
Quittance in Full 
A Husband from the Sea. 



A Fellow of Trinity. I Orchard Damerel. 

The Junior Dean. In the Face of the World. 

Master of St. Benedict's. The Tremlett Diamonds. 

To His Own Master. 
New Arabian Nights. 

By ROBERT SURTEES.-Handley Cross. 

Tales for the Marines. 

Diamond Cut Diamond. 

Frau Frohmann. I The Land-Leaguers. 

Marion Fay. The American Senator. 

Kept in the Dark. Scarborough's Faa.ily. 

The Way We Live Now. | Golden Lion of Granpere. 

Like Ships upon the Sea. | Anne Furness. 
Mabel's Progress. 


Stolen White Elephant. 
Life on the Mississippi. 
1,000,000 Bank-Note. 

A Pleasure Trip" 

The Gilded Aee 

Huckleberry Fir 

Tom Sawyer. 

By C. C. FRASER-TYTLER.-Mistress Judith. 

Bride's Pass. | Lady Bell The Hugueno 
Buried Diamonds. 
St. Mungo's City. 
Noblesse Oblige. 

The Blackball Ghosts. 
What She Came Through. 
Beauty and the Beast. 
By ALLEN UPWARD.-Queen against Owen. 

By WM. WESTALL.-Trust-Money. 
By Mrs. WILLIAMSON.- A Child Widow 

Cavalry Life. | Regimental Legends. 

By H. F. WOOD. 

The Passenger from Scot- 1 The Englishman of the 
land Yard! | Rue Cain. 

By HARG. WYNMAN.-My Flirtations. 


Bound in picture cloth, flat backs. 

The Luck ofGerard Ridgeley. | The King's Assegai. 


Maid Marian and Robin Hood. 



Syrlin. | The Waters of Edera. 

By JAS. PAYN. Modem Dick Whittington. 


St. Katherine's by Tower. | The Rebel Queen. 
By H. BINDLOSS.-Ainslie's Ju-ju. 

Dora Myrl, the Lady Detective. 

Wanted ! The Mystery of Jamaica 

Dark Deeds. Terrace. 

Tales of Terror. 1 Vincent Trill, Detective. 

By G. H. FENN.-A Crimson Crime. 
By PAUL GAULOT.-The Red Shirts. 

No. 99 : and Blue Blood. 
By OWEN HALL.-TrackofaStorm. 


Luck Roaring Camp, &c. I Col. Starbottle's Client. 
In a Hollow of the Hill--. Protegee of Jack Hamlin's 
Sappho of Green Springs. | Sally Dows. 

By HEADON HILL.-Zambra, the Detective. 
By FERGUS HUME.-The Lady from Nowhere 


Plotters of 1'arU. I The Temple of Death. 

Towards the Eternal Snows. 

A Country Sweethea 


The Driit of Fa 

In London's Heart. 


| Rogues and Vagabonds. 

By SUNDOWNER.-Tnle of the Serpent. 

By SARAH TYTLER.-Citoyenne Jacqueline 
ALLEN UPWARD.- Queen against Owen. 

By F. WARDEN. Joan, the Curate. 

BYRON WEBBER.-Sportand Spangles. 


Cavalry Life j and Regimental Legends. 


A Nineteenth-Century Miracle. 



y ** V By AlfNOL,D~BENNETT. 

The Grand Babylon Hotel. 

Children of Gibeon. | All Sorts and Condition 

For Fai 

The Golden Butterfly. I Ready-Money Mortiboy 
The Monks of Thelema. The Chaplain of the Fleet 

The Shadow of the Sword. | God and the Man. 

Red Spider. ^ I Eve^ 

A Son of Hagar. | The Deemster. 

The Shadow of a Crime 
Annadale I No Name. I Man and Wife. 
The Moonstone. The Dead Secret. 

The Woman in White. The New Magdalen. 


Diana Harrington. I Pretty Miss Neville. 

A Bird of Passasre. Beyond the Pale. 

By E. LEPELLETIER.-Madame Sans-Gene. 
By E. LYNN LINTON.-Patricia Kemball. 

By D. CHRISTIE MURRAY. Joseph's Coat. 



Purk. I Moths | Strathmore. | Tricotri... 

Held in Bondage. | Under Two Flags. | Chandos. 

The Mascarenes. | Friendship. | Ariadne. 

Walter's Word. | Lost Sir Massingberd. 

Griffith Gaunt 

Foul Play. | Hard Cash 
Peg Woffington ; and 

Christie Johnstone. 
A Terrible Temptation. 

Put Yourself in His Place. 
The Cloister and the 


Never Too Late to Mend. 
The Double Marriage. 
By W. CLARK RUSSELL.-The Convict Ship. 
By GEORGE R. SIMS. -Mary Jane's Memoirs. 

New Arabian Nights . 
By WILLIAM WESTALL.-The Old Factory. 

The Downfall. I The Dram-Shop. 

Lourdes. | Rome. | Paris. 


A Short History of Our Own Times. 

UNWIN BROTHERS, Ltd., Printers, 27, Pilgrim Street, Ludgate Hill, London, E.G. 

ML Morris, W. Meredith 

404. British violin-makers